The Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, in collaboration with the Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs), are to come out with strategies to curb Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practiced in some parts of the Region.
The Council said it would put in place measures to deter parents from sending their babies and daughters to neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso and Togo to engage in the act.
“The Assembly members of the various MDAs will be tasked to sensitize parents to stop this barbaric act. We cannot allow this in this 21st century,” the Upper East Deputy Regional Minister, Mr Daniel Syme, said.
He said this when stakeholders including heads of department and Civil Society Organizations raised the concern at a regional mid-year cross sector review meeting organised by UNICEF and the UERCC in Bolgatanga on Tuesday.
The participants said FGM was common in the Pusiga District, Bawku Municipal, the Bawku West and the Kessena-Nankana West districts which share borders with Togo and Burkina Faso, as parents often cross with their babies and daughters to have their genital organs mutilated.
Dr Syme said it was a crime under the laws of Ghana to engage in such negative cultural practices and that parents who would be found indulging in it and their accomplices would not be spared when caught.
The participants suggested examination of children at health facilities to know whether they had been taken through FGM as part of measures to halt it.
They also suggested that teachers should constantly check girls’ attendance at school because some parents take their daughters out of school to be genitally mutilated.
Ms Clara Dube, Chief Field Officer of UNICEF at the Tamale office, expressed worry about parents in the Region who give out their daughters for early marriages and said statistics showed that 39 per cent of females in the Upper East Region were given out for marriage before age 18 years.
She said one of the major causes of complication in child birth could be attributed to early marriages and appealed to parents not to endanger the lives of their daughters by giving them out for marriage before 18 years.
Ms Rubby Anang, Chief Field Officer of UNICEF in charge of Child Protection Network, appealed to stakeholders particularly members of the Upper East Child Protection Network to sensitize parents on their roles and responsibilities in the upbringing of their children.