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Masturbation & Penile Cancer: The Myth, The Fiction & The Dangers Of False Diagnosis

Penile cancers are a very rare type of cancer that can occur on the skin of the penis or within the penis and contrary to false beliefs , male masturbation (self sexual pleasure) is not a known cause or risk factor identified by medical science. The cause is actually unknown. Read the fictional story of ,Mr. ThankGod the Bank Cashier, below to appreciate the myth as well as dangers of false diagnosis and then refer to the References for more information about penile cancers and masturbation.


ThankGod just returned from work and flopped on his mattress in his one bedroom apartment in shomolu. Apparently there had been no light all day and the room had the stale smell of used clothes and unwashed plates but this didn't bother him one bit. All he could think of was to get to bed as he had a really stressful day dealing with belligerent University students in his Akoka bank branch.   The girls in their revealing attires and rebellious hairdo always treated him with condescension and they never had more than Twenty Thousand Naira in their savings account. This had made him come up with the Hypothesis he proudly called "ThankGod's law of bank balances" which claimed that a student's bank balance was inversely proportional to how flashy they dressed. He however had the problem of never being able to fall asleep easily, so like all other issues he faced in life, he found a hack- "Masturbation". Intense hatred was what he felt for that word, which he believed to be too mechanical, detached and sinful for an act as beautiful as the act of self-satisfaction. He preferred the hippie slang "wanking" as it sounded really cool.  When his pastor in his conservative Pentecostal church would get all pumped up and start shouting, "SINNERS SHALL BURN IN THE LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE, THE THIEVES, LIARS, FORNICATORS, ADULTERERS AND MASTURBATORS. THEY SHALL ALL PERISH!!", with sweat dripping down his face and soaking up his shiny shirt, he would always shout "YES, YES!!" when the other evils were mentioned and go mute at the sound of  "masturbation".   He rationalised that he didn't masturbate, eww- that was disgusting! He only "wanked" and that helped to prevent him from committing the more heinous religious/moral crime of fornication and adultery. God forbid he ever stooped so low as to commit any of those.
Every evening and sometimes on Saturday mornings and afternoons he wanked away his sorrows and made sure he never ran out of tissue and Jergens body lotion. They were always at the top of his shopping list. The smell of jergens body lotion was to him like the smell of fried plantain to a foodie. On this particular evening, with his equipment close by, he thought about his day earlier and he settled for Amaka, the buxom, light skinned lady from marketing who only came to the branch when she felt like. No one ever questioned her because she brought in the big guns with their accounts in tow. Today, she had walked into the bank and waved towards him, flashing her pearly white teeth and quickly ascended upstairs. He was star struck and transfixed, his heart pounding with the anxiety of a love Jones and then he made the mistake of turning to receive the expected acknowledgments from the gang; only for him to notice Bisi the cleaner who usually ran Amaka's errands behind him grinning from molar to molar. Amaka had once again disappointed him as the wave was meant for Bisi but now he would get his pound of flesh. He would do unimaginable things to her in his head and bend her in positions only him could imagine. As his palm grasped his member, he felt some slight bumps on it. The smooth feeling was gone and what used to be pleasurable was replaced by a coarse feeling. His heart sank as he cursed under his breath; his village people had finally won and taken his only joy from him. All night  he couldn't sleep as the hours seemed longer than usual. He eventually stayed up all night thinking about what might have caused this. What was wrong with his one and only 'john Thomas'?


It was barely 5am when he sent a text to HR to say he was very sick and would be absent from work. He found himself on the next bus to Yaba and by 6am he was in the waiting room of the Military Hospital. He couldn't believe that doctors could be so tardy; by 6am nobody was at their duty post. After fuming and stamping his feet for a while, he went towards the security post "Sir, when exactly is the doctor coming?", he asked the military policeman stationed there, for the umpteenth time. "Oga I don tell you say na 9am doctor dey resume, wait for am, you hear! If you come here again I go arrest you oh", the guard replied angrily. He sighed and went back to his seat cursing under his breath to join the other early patients.   Three hours later, he was jolted from his sleep by the sound of his name and he ran into the Consulting room shouting "I am here, I have been here since 5am Sir". "Oga (man) let's take your vital observations before the doctor attends to you", the elderly matron shouted back at him. After the seemingly never ending process of having his vitals taking, he rushed into the inner office, where he met a young, slim, dark skinned lady who was wearing what he always liked to call "coke bottle glasses". "This slim Dockay go know book well well, I get luck" he murmured, then proceeded to drag his pants down saying "Doctor I don't have any problem except for my thingy giving me headache". "I don't understand, stop this immediately, I have not asked you to undress" Dr Alero, the National Youth Corps Doctor on duty replied looking confused. "Doctor this ain't no jokes, I've developed an unusual rash on my winky; please help" he begged.  "Okay relax Sir; any itching?, discharge??, swelling on your groin???, injury????, are you sexually active?????, she fired in quick succession to which he vigorously shook his head at every question. "Do you have any idea what this is Doc? What's with the multitude of questions young lady?"


"Hmmm, Mr ThankGod" she said after some minutes of uncomfortable silence and deep thought, "this seems to be a rare form of penile cancer caused by a variety of risk factors, topmost of which is promiscuous sexual activity but since you are not sexually active I'm not quite sure. It has been found that 0.05% of patients with this disease actually admitted to masturbating", she continued. "Do you errm... masturbate?", she whispered, lowering her glasses to look him in the eye. "No oh, God forbid!!! Me masturbate?? Impossible", he denied swiftly. "Well, very good then. We'll have to send you to a private histology laboratory on the island for some tests to confirm the diagnosis" and she hurriedly filled the lab forms. "Do have a nice day Mr ThankGod, Next patient!!", she shouted over the din emanating from the waiting area. 
πŸ‘€: thesun.co.uk

He managed to leave the hospital composed, all the while, thoughts running through his head. His village people had finally succeeded and had struck him with cancer or maybe God was punishing him for sinning and trying to cover it up. His pastor always said the punishment for sin was death. What punishment could be more fitting than this. Cancer...and cancer of the penis at that. Somehow, he knew he wouldn't be able to survive the stress of struggling for a Danfo (local bus transport), so he requested for an Uber Taxi even though it cost him. He was gonna die very soon so what use was all that money he had been saving for the past three years. Besides, Google said the treatment for this cancer was to cut off  affected parts the penis. Tears began rolling down his eyes as he began to imagine that he would never have sex in his life even if he survived. His travails would provide material for his Pastor's subsequent sermons about masturbation and fornication. Going back to that church was out of it. He had never felt so alone and scared.  "Oga, you dey okay so, anybody die?", the driver asked him while observing through the rear view mirror. "I dey okay!!Oga mind your business!!", he curtly replied in Nigerian pidgin English.

He got down at the laboratory complex and went through the motions of paying. A sample was obtained from his penis after his biodata was confirmed inside the Pathology laboratory. He didn't even hear them  when they said he would receive an email of the results and a call to come collect a copy. As far as he was concerned, he was dead among the living, only biding his time before the expected end would come. The future wasn't so bright anymore. 
He ordered another Uber Taxi straight home and on the way, the driver kept making small talk so he had to be rude and cut him off instantly. When they got on Third Mainland Bridge, the bridge that separated parts of Lagos mainland from the Island over the Lagos Lagoon, he angrily asked the driver to stop, that he would rather board a bus than hear his voice again.  After alighting, he paid the driver who zoomed off immediately after, screaming "poor bastard!" at him. Turning towards the Lagoon, the rays of sunlight reflected by the water bed hit his face and he felt an aura and a powerful energy flow through him. He began to feel a force drawing him close. Suddenly all his troubles vanished and for the first time in 24 hours he felt at peace. 


The phone rang a couple of times before it was answered. "Hello" was all the other person on the line could manage to say before Dr Odeku, the Pathologist rapped happily "Mr ThankGod, we sent you a mail two weeks ago and have been trying to reach you since. Your pathology report shows you have "pearly penile papules"; a benign condition that can be treated with laser at a clinic on the island here as well as in another one in Surulere , which ever one you prefer. It's quite a rare skin condition and we need your permission to write a case report about it. I'm so excited", "hello!!", he continued, then the shock hit. "This is his younger brother; ThankGod is no more. He jumped to his death two weeks ago", a sober, male voice replied and the line went dead.

By: Dr. Wisdom Aziegbe

Aziegbe Wisdom (@wizibord) is a Nigerian Medical Doctor with interests in Cardiology and Psychiatry. He loves writing medical fiction and enjoys watching funny Instagram videos in his free time.










References:





Saturday Evening Salads On Flick:Here's Why You Must Make Colourful Vegetables And Fruits A Dietery Constant

Salads refer to a cold mixture of various raw vegetables +/- fruits, served with a cream or oil dressing and only recently have I personally experienced/realised why these colourful plants should be a constant in the diet of every individual. Like many ignorant people out there, I used to think salads actually only referred to coleslaw-( popularly known as vegetable salad ) or a mix of chopped up fruits (popularly known as fruit salad) and were only necessary for adding flavour to rice meals or dessert, with regards to the fruits πŸ˜„. Not until I started working in British Hospitals,did I realise that salads, were mostly a mixture of nutritious raw vegetables and fruits that could make all the difference between a healthy and unhealthy diet. Admire the lovely salad on flick this Saturday Evening and find out below why you must make such a constitution part of your regular diet.

πŸ“·: Salad, Coleslaw & Lasagna  by @drkevwe (www.instagram.com/drkevwe) 

* Great Source Of Dietary Fiber:
Experts have identified salads as one of the best sources of nutritional fiber - portions of plant derived food that cannot be completely broken down by digestive chemicals. This fiber or roughages as sometimes called, pass down from the small intestine to the large intestine to help the forming stool develop better bulk that can be easily passed out. The suggested cause of bowel cancer in many cases, has been linked to the longterm absence of dietary fiber in the diets of many victims. How this exactly can happen is long medical grammar for another day; if you don't mind. The simplest realtime explanation of this benefit is appreciated when you wake up for 3 consecutive days feeling constipated, until you grab a salad or any other source of dietary fiber like cornflakes/cereals or even oranges and eventually experience the greatest intestinal relief of your life in.....you know where.
πŸ“·: Salad & Prawn Mayo by @drkevwe(www.instagram.com/drkevwe)

* Wonderful Source Of Vitamins & Vital Mineral Salts:
Vegetables and fruits, the major components of salads, are confirmed excellent sources of vitamins and vital mineral salts in the body that play very important roles in a multitude of stabilising chemical activities that must occur for everyone of us to feel well overall. Ranging from: skin and bone maintenance to body electrical impulse transfer (nerve conduction) to overall brain function or even general organ function-sexual organs not excluded, a proper balance of vitamins and mineral salts in addition to other factors, will give you the right fix and put your body in a position to function optimally. There is no better way to explain it. Only a trial can convince you.


* Excellent Dietary Option For Weight Loss & Maintenance Of Healthy Body Fat:
Are you one of those battling with weight loss or struggling to maintain a healthy diet to normalise your Cholesterol levels for better blood pressure or blood sugar controls? Have you ever been in a situation where, you really wished you could keep your eating as healthy as possible but circumstances just wouldn't permit?  The Doctor has asked you to reduce or cut out starchy carbohydrates for dinner which must not be eaten later than 7pm/19:00 but you wake up really early to go to work and remain so busy all day that, the only opportunity to eat anything major is late night after you close and you feel starchy carbohydrates are the only filling option right? This is exactly the concern I have gotten from a lot of patients in the past but say no more; a colourful portion of salad served with your favourite  barbecue fish or grilled chicken or turkey...etc.... will do the magic.
πŸ‘€: Wikipedia

In conclusion, all of the above grammar can be summarised in the fact that, with salads you can't go wrong diet wise. There are different types and when eaten alongside your favourite fish or meat or whatever, you will certainly get as full as you want, yet remain as healthy as possible.

By: Dr. Oghenekevwe Daniel Ogidigben

REFERENCES:
WebMD| 4 Healthy Reasons To Eat A Salad Today

HuffPost| Sex And A Salad


September 21:World Alzheimer's Day- Here's Why You Must Pay Attention!

πŸ‘€: Wikipedia- Healthy VS Severe Alzheimer's Disease

It was a trying September 21st and in the mist of all the confusion and ignorance, a relative who lived abroad had phoned in to inform the family that Grandpa may have been suffering from a brain condition called ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE; he was not just choosing to forget what should be familiar faces or  deciding to suddenly act foolish and very needy in a bid to seek selfish attention, as some had already began to conclude. For reasons not very clear to Medical Scientists yet, he may have developed brain changes that have now affected his memory and other aspects of his brain function. Today is another September 21st and if you are still ignorant about this condition, on this special "World Alzheimer's Day", we are joining other concerned Organisations all around the world to raise awareness about Alzheimer's Disease- the most common cause of DEMENTIA( progressive deterioration of cognitive brain function beyond what may be expected for normal ageing)


 Many people especially in Africa, believe that Alzheimer's is a disease condition exclusive to white people in the Western world. Yet, just like my late maternal Grandfather who died in Nigeria over 10 years ago, more and more middle age to elderly people are developing brain changes as shown in the image above and manifesting with the typical symptoms of the Alzheimer's disease but family members who are supposed to be the first point of call for support are totally ignorant; thus the  lack of adequate care for the aged victims. If you are one of those still in doubt as to whether a member of your family can possibly be affected, take a look at the Infographic below and understand why you must pay attention!
πŸ‘€: World Alzheimer's Report 2015- The Global Impact Of Dementia


Now that we all have an idea, how then do we recognise the symptoms of this devastating condition? Here's what to typically look out for, to suspect Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of Dementia.
πŸ‘€: fpmaragall.org

Do well to take your loved one early enough  to your primary healthcare practitioner for a Neurology referral if they are within the implicated age range and yourself or other family members begin to notice a recurrence in unusual forgetfulness or any of the other symptoms mentioned above. The condition might be irreversible currently but a lot of research is ongoing as to how disease progression can be slowed down and who knows, eventually a cure might become the reality that a lot of us are praying for. Very importantly, those who begin to manifest symptoms of Alzheimer's disease or other forms of Dementia as the case maybe, require a lot of support and care, so baseline knowledge about this condition will never be a waste of time. You might be in a position to in one way or the other, help your neighbour, your family member or better still, your future self and never forget.... 


For more information about the disease, current campaign efforts, research work, prevention where possible and available forms of management, click into the references below. 
REFERENCES:



Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month:How I Fought The Disease & Depression To Become A Super Survivor

The month of September has been tagged as "National Sickle Cell Awareness Month" in the United States Of America. Nevertheless, Sickle Cell Disease(SCD) related support Groups and concerned activists from different parts of the world, have played an active role in spreading awareness and messages of hope globally since the month began. Generally defined as one of the inherited(genetic) conditions that affects the longevity of red(oxygen carrying) blood cells in humans, the presence of faulty  genetic sequencing leads to the formation of abnormal blood cells that eventually turn sickle-shaped under certain untoward conditions, leading to breakdown and consequently the shortage of implicated red blood cells (anaemia) in the body as well as, supply of oxygen to vital organs. This month, we bring you the true story of a SCD Warrior, who had to fight disease ignorance and depression to become a super survivor.




"By God's Grace I am a living testimony of Sickle Cell Disease(SCD) and  I tell this story as a 28 year old survivor who has practically being to the deepest parts of the disease pit and back.  As a child, living an everyday life with SCD was not easy. I couldn't live a normal life as most of my childhood days were spent in hospitals. My early school days were almost marred by absenteeism and this made my learning process somewhat slow. Whilst facing the frequent pain of bone crisis, I had to put in so much effort to keep up with school work. Thank God for my family,friends and teachers who served as back bone pillars, to give me all the support I needed at the time.  Although most of my classmates then saw me as the odd one out initially, which made things rather hard for me, some of the more mature ones eventually got to understand and in their own way became quite supportive. 

 My higher level  was a bit better because I already understood my body to an extent, so I was able to take care of myself health wise as well as,social too. I also  had to learn how to love myself  and put a smile on my face despite the pain of crisis I was going through.That was the only way I could survive. When I graduated from school, I could not get a job  
because I was not physically strong enough for the opportunities that came my way. Hundreds of thousands of healthy and strong Nigerians were jobless, talk less of what some will call a miserable sickler  like me.  This situation sent me down the dark path of self hate and for almost two years I was down with depression. I thought of giving up but thank God for  music(worship & praises songs). Every time I sang, I miraculously found the inspiration to carry on. I had shot everybody out and staying all day on my bed doing nothing was like  
hell.  I had to wake up from my slumber. I had to face my fear and eventually decided to go into what has now become my passion. I started catering and baking. Although it was and still can be stressful but life itself  is stressful, isn't it? I had to tell myself, my family and  friends this because of initial worry that I would breakdown. I had to however, take my  
stand and face my mountains. Thank God, today I have my own business..



With regards to my health, I try to maintain regular water intake  per hour and  
before bed. My diet is mostly conventional, with good consumption of  
fruits and vegetables every week. I bake but I try to avoid much junk food. I  
don't take alcohol. I do not smoke.I have a limitation on physical  
exercise and have not explored my stamina, so I don't  engage in activities like swimming, running, jogging or the likes. I enjoying travelling though; if you want to regard that as a hubby. Sickle Cell Crisis is now down to 1 or 2 episodes a year. Some people say I am lucky,as I have not required blood  transfusion at all. Pain is off and on but then I take simple pain medications which have really been helpful.  I have not had any addiction to pain killers as I have noticed with a few other persons with the genotype.

My greatest challenge care wise, has been financial  
constraints. I know that there are better modalities of care out there but for now, I can only make do with maximising friendships and taking maximum advantage of the relationship with people I meet at various sickle cell group and gathering. The support has been amazing. To every other person with the genotype, I say hang in there. There is better life here on earth beyond all the pain and together we would find it".
-ANONYMOUS.

Via Bone Marrow Transplant Technology and suppression of the immune system, experts now believe that though expensive at the moment, the cure for SCD is now a reality that many thought will never come. A lot of research is currently ongoing ,as to how  cheaper and less complicated cure can be achieved. Hopefully, a generation of sickled red cells will permanently be replaced by normally shaped (biconcave) red cells and the love story to be told will be, happy from pain, forever after. 


πŸ‘€: indianexpress.com
For more information about: Sickle Cell Disease; World Sickle Cell Day- which was observed on the 19th of June and; Sickle Cell Awareness Month, kindly refer to the References below.

REFERENCES:
NHS| Sickle Cell Disease

SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA NEWS| Activities Underway In US For Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month

World Sickle Cell Day

Ever Heard Of Grilled Snake Meat? Here's What It Looks Like

I had heard a lot about Snake meat and how it was in high demand in different parts of the world. Little did I know that on that faithful evening, I will come face to face with an already grilled Python. At first I almost confused the well peppered looking meat for some sort of wild grass cutter but something didn't feel right. I was there to buy grass cutter meat and palm wine. I however couldn't help but wonder what kind of alternative protein source was staring at me in the face. I had to ask the young businessman  as he sauntered out of a palm frond  bar towards his potential new customers, smiling  from the thoughts of making another potential sale I guess. I eventually got the shocker of my life when I was informed that, other than the grass cutter which I was yet to find out the price, the other meat was the only remains of a 20 feet long python. Here's what my Panasonic GH4 Camera with an 11-42mm panasonic lens captured.



Some nutritional authorities have postulated that, snake meat does contain 93 calories per 100g of meat. The big question is how many people will consider this as their source of protein? If you have ever tried this delicacy, kindly let us know what it feels like in the comments section below. Some say it does taste like chicken but way better actually. What do you say? For those of us who have never thought of trying this recipe out, will you ever consider having this dreaded reptile for a meal?
πŸ‘€: Wikipedia
For better information about the nutritional constituents of snake meat, see References below.
REFERENCES:
FIT DAY| The Nutrition Of Snake

SPARK RECIPE| Calories In Snake Meat

Saturday Night Style & Wardrobe Revamp- Here's Why You Should Consider High-Slit Dresses

The High-Slit Dress trend has been around for a while but in recent times, designers as well as the :fashion models; actresses; female music artistes and other female celebrity groups being designed for, have rebranded the style, making hot,sleek and sassy the name of the new game. If you have been contemplating becoming an A-list style icon at every event you attend, here's why you should consider high-slit dresses for your wardrobe revamp.

High-Slit Dresses have been confirmed by style authorities to accentuate the heightening effects of high stilettos, sandals or boots. The silhouette of the dress in addition,has also been noticed to create a leg lengthening illusion,making the overall look simply chic and stylishly sassy.

This trend is regarded to be exclusively for bold women all over the world, who are willing to step out of their comfort zones to make a fashion statement. High-Slit Dresses are great for special events where the crΓ¨me de la crΓ¨me of society usually appear, especially for those who want to be the center of attention or decide to unleash the naughty girl within . 

To say female celebrities have fallen in love with this fashion trend is an understatement,as there is hardly any red carpet event that high-slit dresses are not fully showcased. At the just concluded African Magic Viewer's Choice Award(AMVCA) 2018, so many celebrities like Minnie Dlamini, Zainab Azeez etc  turned up looking so chic in these High- Slit deesses.  

The typical slit is designed to end mid-thigh and in some cases, the hip. Many designers are  however getting more daring with their cuts and female fashionistas are proving to love every sense of the rebranded style. Jennifer Lopez (JLO) took this trend a notch higher recently, when she wore a black Spring '18 Alex Perry satin crepe dress with a slit cut from beside the navel down to the bottom of the  dress, to show up at the Robin Hood Foundation gala in New York.


HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO PULL OFF THIS LOOK:
  • Make sure the dress fits PERFECTLY WELL: You want a high-slit dress to be tailored to your size, so you don't end up with a dress flying all over the place.
  • If you are uncomfortable with showing some skin you can cover a portion of your slit exposed thigh with a beige material or lace. 
  • Ensure to adequately  moisturise and hydrate your legs. If a high-slit dress must accentuate your lovely legs, then it's got to be glow all the way.

What are you waiting for to show off those sexy leg?
Keep a tab with us on "Dr. Kevwe's Blog" for more of fashion, style and hot trends. If the trend is making people happy and psychologically uplifted, then you can be sure to eventually find it being reviewed in this space.

Written by: Dr. Queen


Medical Doctor, storyteller, Health Education Expert, Health influencer, Blogger extraordinaire.... Fashion designer that loves to dance...! Creative Director of TamaracoutureNg

Three Exercise Routines That Can Preserve Your Kidney Function- VIDEO

It's another Saturday morning and today, I have decided to post a short video about exercise routines that can preserve not only our kidney function but practically the functioning of every other organ in the body. As we may know already, the kidneys play a very important role in excretion of waste from the body in the form of urine. The kidney also plays important roles in the formation of Vitamin D for skin health and red blood cells for oxygen transfer. Any form of good exercise will not only be followed up by drinking of water which is great for the kidneys but will also enhance excellent blood flow to all organs of the body in the process, leading to vital supply of oxygen and nutrients; a process that is continually necessary if organ function must remain optimal. Here's a video of my humble self demonstrating what I still believe to be the simplest routines you can make a habit.



NOTE:
Exercise alone cannot entirely take the place of visiting your primary Healthcare Providers for vital wellness checks to ensure that all is well. Monitoring vital biological numbers like our: heart rates, blood pressures and  blood sugar values or even our weight, will go a very long way, in addition to exercising , to making sure that we remain well overall; in regards to body organ function. 

Life does not have to be too complex. Make your fitness routines as light as your body can tolerate and keep the routine as regular as possible. Instead of pushing yourself to the limit at one go, based on the "no pain-no gain" mantra and refusing to return because of muscle and joint aches. In the meantime, I'm taking a brisk walk to join other friends for soccer. Do well to return to this Blog for more simplistic fitness tips. We surely got you covered in a way that no other Blog does. Cheers Fam.

Chronicles of Ebiere: A Panoramic View Of Female Genital Mutilation In Africa

🎨:by Ufuoma Evuarherhe (Facebook)
When will Female Genital Mutilation finally stop in Africa? Isn't enough already enough? Read the short illustrative chronicles of Ebiere below to appreciate the problem and then a panoramic view of what is still happening in some rural areas of the African continent. My heart bleeds for victims.

Ebiere looked at herself in the mirror as she prepared to step out for her meeting, her heart beat a little more erratic than it normally would. ‘Quiet! Faint heart she said in her thought- this is not the first time you will be speaking publicly but she knew why, this would be her first time talking to her people about an experience she had in the community that almost ruined her life. She was going head on to engage the traditional leaders, politicians, women leaders and young people to challenge   a deeply entrenched cultural issue with a view to reorienting  their beliefs and possibly getting  a    commitment from them to change the rules.
πŸ‘€: Royalty Free Vector

Ebiere  remembered with fondness, the trip to the village, when she was 5 years, where the beach was the place to be...hang-out with older siblings and friends, learning skills to search out snails and crabs and preparing them into a delicacy that a 5 star chef will be envious of. That was why 10 years down the line, when her parents mentioned a vacation to the ‘villa’ from the UK, her excitement went out of the roof . Little did she know that she was being deceived to the ruthless traditional human part butchers and in this situation, her treasured genital will be the prime target.    As was the culture, she went with her mum greeting relatives and leaving behind packs of Eclairs. They got to a relative of theirs who was a known matron in the community and after all the pleasantries of how she had grown so beautiful , she was taken into one of the rooms where to her bewilderment, some other  older and definitely stonger women held her down; removed her pants and then the old matron started cutting away at her external genitals.

 Holding back tears she described to the group in front of her how she screamed out her lungs, calling out to her mother. ‘It was like I was being raped and cut as if cutting ordinary paper’. I died at that point, felt so helpless, abused and worthless’, she said.

‘On our way back home, whilst  bleeding and in excruciating pain with tissue paper between my legs, my mother explained that I had just passed through the rites of womanhood. Apparently all the women there at the butchery-in-disguise  including my mum had gone through the procedure and here my mum was claiming to have done her best to make sure it was a matron that did it and not some old woman. What rites? Am I to be grateful for undergoing a procedure without my consent; held down like some prey; no pain numbing agents; no gloves or pain relief medications; no recovery room?...grateful indeed! I was told I was now a woman, who will eventually become pure, chaste and fertile. "Huh? Really?" she thought.   That triggered the rebel in me, she continued.... When we eventually returned to the UK, during my college years later on, I was determined to have all the ‘fun’ these barbaric people wanted to deprive me of. This did not relieve the deep anger and hatred I had for my culture and with my grade plummeting, I was called in to have a discussion with my staff advisor who happened to be a Kenyan lady. I opened up to her and she told me she was a victim as well, but that with support from friends and other NGOs she was able to overcome the mental effects of female genital mutilation. To show her power over the experience, when her daughter was of age she took her back to Kenya, called all her Massai relatives and threw a huge party for her to mark the rites of womanhood;showering her with gifts, jewelries and cards with wise sayings. She made sure to use the occasion to challenge the norms of her community, letting everyone know that her daughter was in all ramifications a woman who was going to grow up to be chaste, fertile and wise without the de-humanizing experience of female genital mutilation.
πŸ‘€: www.youtube.com


This, as Ebiere related to her kinsfolk, was the reason she was back in the community to testify to everyone who cared to listen that, circumcision did not make her chaste but only drove her to prostitution.  Chastity was a matter of orientation and not due to tampering with the female genitals.

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
The World Health Organization defines "female genital mutilation- FGM"(now currently known as female genital cutting) as all surgical procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organ for non-medical reasons.
Background
It is a cross-cultural and a cross-religious ritual. It has a long history and is said to have been practiced in more than 20 African countries including: Kenya, Guinea, Nigeria, Ghana etc. Some other parts of the world have also been implicated, with native immigrants being reported to secretly perform the procedure in western countries like the United Kingdom and the United States. The major victims are usually young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.   Historians are yet to fully unravel the origins of this crude culture. Women right activists are however of the opinion that, the roots may not be far from age long  gender inequality practices,deeply entrenched in the culture of indigenous  African ancestors. It is said that in the bid for men to regulate and control the bodies and sexuality of their women, they are required by culture to only marry circumcised women; who are termed as clean, sexually pure and trustworthy. These gave rise to many superstitions and beliefs largely guarded and upheld by the womenfolk to sustain the practice and ensure it did not become extinct. Certain women became custodians carrying on with the propagation and practice of this belief. Crude and unsterilised cutting instruments such as scalpels and blades where collected and passed on to their progeny. Instead of FGM to ameliorate promiscuity, it rather endangered women’s lives with complications such as severe bleeding, leakage of urine and faeces as well as,  childbirth and psychological problems.
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FGM is one of the forms of violence against girls and women and it is practiced in Africa for the following reasons:
Psychosexual:  It is believed that circumcision will reduce a woman’s sexual desire, thereby preserving her virginity and chastity even in marriage.
Sociological: As part of maturation rites, women are initiated into the sacred rites of womanhood through circumcision. This accords the young woman social acceptance by the womenfolk and community members in general.
Hygiene and aesthetics: In some cultures, the female external genitalia is unsightly. In order to make it appealing and ‘clean’, it is shaved off.
Religion: Some religions approve of it, while some just accept it and do not condemn it as the rationale of it aligns with what they believe.
Others:  To some others it makes women fertile, aids in delivery and health of the baby and also increases marriage prospects.

BASIC STATISTICS – Prevalence of FGM among adult women by geopolitical zones in Nigeria
Region Prevalence
Type of Circumcision
Type 1 Type 2 Type 3
North East
1.3%
---
North Central
9.6%
1.2% 64.6% 2.5%
North West
0.4%
---
South West
56.9%
2.2% 36.3% 1.3%
South East
40.8%
0.3% 12.2% 2.7%
South South
30.7%
3.0% 66.6% 7.5%
Source: Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), 2003

The Procedure
It involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital. It is of 3 types.
Type 1: known as clitoridectomy, involves partial or total removal of the clitoris, the small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genital.
Type 2: known as excision which is the partial or total removal of the clitoris with or without excision of the labia majora ("the lips" that surround the vagina).
Type 3: known as infibulation, and is the most severe form, here the clitoris, labia minora and the inner part of the labia majora are cut off, the vaginal opening is then stitched closed except for a small opening to allow for passage of urine and menstrual blood. Most women that undergo this type are required to have this ‘seal’ opened close to childbirth and it is then resealed again, making her relieve the trauma repeatedly.
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Health Implications
There are no health benefits or otherwise from FGM; only harm. It is usually traumatic, without consent and in unsanitary conditions with unsterilized objects. Adverse effects include:
*  Failure to heal 
*  Cyst formation 
* Urinary tract infections 
*  Hepatitis, HIV etc 
*  Infertility 
*  Bladder/anal/vaginal abnormal connections leading to leakages 
* Abscess/pus formation
* Excessive growth of scar tissue
* Painful sexual intercourse
* Reproductive tract infections
* Obstructed labour
* Increased risk of bleeding & infection during birth


Age at circumcision
%
1 -4
4.1
5- 6
1.8
7 –8
2.0
9 – 10
0.5
11 – 12
0.9
13+
3.9
Person who performed circumcision
%
Traditional circumcisers
60.6
Traditional birth attendants
10.0
Other traditional methods
1.0
Doctors
2.0
Midwives
24.3
Other health workers
0.4
Source: NDHS, 2003


πŸ‘€:Cut Alert Foundation

International Response:
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the fundamental rights of young girls and women. The practice strips them of their right to freedom from all forms of physical and mental abuse; violence or injury; right to be protected from traditions prejudicial stratification of children and women as well as, their rights to make reproductive decisions, free from discrimination, coercion and violence.
February 6th of every year has been declared by the World Health Organization, as a day set aside to condemn the FGM practice across the world.  Some girls between the ages of 6 and 18 are however still being mutilated especially on the eve of their wedding while others are cut a day to the day they would be delivered of their baby, hence the need to step up the practice termination campaign.

Nigeria’s Response
There is a National Policy on Female Genital Mutilation (October 2000) and a National Strategic Plan of Action with funding and support from UNICEF, WHO etc to eliminate all forms of FGM, using a multi- sectorial approach to engage and sensitize traditional leaders, policy makers, legislators etc on the reduction of these practices.
Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan signed the bill  "Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015" into law in May 2015. This landmark step puts Nigeria ahead of some other countries in criminalizing FGM and other vices such as forceful ejection from home and harmful widowhood practices. Besides, it also prohibits abandonment of spouse, children and other dependents without sustenance, battery and harmful traditional practices.

Limitations and Challenges
Laws are not enough! Though FGM has been made illegal, it is still been practiced underground. Imagine even educated folks bringing their children back home for ‘vacation cutting’. For a practice so deeply entrenched, education is needed for people to willingly give up this culture. 

Recommendations:
*  If the Government won't do it for the people, who will? The time has come for already existing legislation to be enforced to the letter and very stringent measures of punishment visited of offenders.
* There is need for continued strengthening of advocacy programmes against FGM by mass, electronic and new age media to inform, educate and communicate the harmful practice; in order to drive for sustained social change as regards the matter.

I had to go all academic about this issue on a Tabloid Health Magazine Blog to show how important this issue is to the young African female who coincidentally, is the future mother of a promising continent. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!

REFERENCES:
WHO| Female Genital Mutilation

UNICEF| End Violence,Stop Female Genital Mutilation

NHS| Female Genital Mutilation

Nigerian Demographic And Health Survey 2003


  • Written br:Dr. Azi, Esther Ibinabo 

  • Dr. Azi, Esther Ibinabo is a versatile Change Agent. She acquired her degrees in Human Anatomy, Medicine and Surgery and a post graduate degree in Gender and Women Development all from the u University of Port-Harcourt. Her passion for Preventive and Social Medicine with emphasis on Women and Health drove her to acquire a certification from John Hopkins University via Coursera on Gender Based Violence (GBV), for which she volunteers part time at the GBV Clinic of Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors without borders) in Rivers State, Nigeria. She is currently a Resident Doctor with Community Medicine Department, University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital.