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Gambia takes on as National Program UAB project to abolish FGM
Date:2/5/2009

The Government of the Republic of The Gambia has decided to create a National Programme based on the "Initiation without Mutilation" project (Iniciaci sense mutilaci), directed by UAB researcher Adriana Kaplan, financed by Fundaci "la Caixa", and managed by the Institute of Primary Care Research IDIAP Jordi Gol and the NGO Wassu Gambia Kafo. The project aims to eliminate the genital lesions created by these traditional rituals by proposing alternative methods which prevent physical mutilations but continue to respect the tradition. Researchers thus proposed a circular approach between Gambia and Spain to train health professionals of both countries in this area and to raise the population's awareness of the problems posed by such mutilations.

More than 130 million women in the world have been victims to some type of genital mutilation (FGM) and it is estimated that every year over three million girls are at risk of becoming victims of this initiation ritual. According to a 2005 census, more than 3600 women in Catalonia had been victims of some type of FGM and over 2000 girls were at risk of becoming victims of this practice in the next few years. To combat this problem, in 1989 researcher Adriana Kaplan began a research line on sexual and reproductive health among immigrant populations with fieldworks in Gambia and Spain.

Now Dr Kaplan has achieved one of the most important goals of her work, which is the acceptance of the Initiation without Mutilation project by the Gambian government and the creation of a National Programme under the Health Ministry's Department of State for Health & Social Welfare. The exceptional relevance of achieving this goal becomes apparent if one takes into account that only ten years before the Gambian government had prohibited any type of awareness-raising activity related to female genital mutilations as a response to the aggressiveness of some NGOs towards this issue.

The project consists in applied r
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Contact: Adriana Kaplan
adriana.kaplan@uab.cat
34-649-205-108
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Source:Eurekalert

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