CAIRO: Less than one week after the death of the second victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) surgery, Karima Rahim Massoud, citizens from six different governorates filed complaints to the Health Ministry about other FGM cases.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Health Dr. Abdel Rahman Shahin told Daily News Egypt that the ministry’s inspection committee had received several related complaints which will be presented to the general prosecutor according to law number 271 that forbids FGM surgery in all hospitals and clinics.
Officials from the ministry also confirmed that ongoing investigations into the complaints filed from Giza, Alexandria, Aswan, Fayoum, Minya and Gharbeya governorates have revealed that most of the cases are true.
Since the death of 13-year-old Karima after an overdose of anesthesia while undergoing FGM surgery at Kafr Gaafar in Gharbeya, the Health Ministry has requested revoking the license of Mahmoud Habib, the retired doctor who performed the operation.
But the Doctor’s Syndicate vetoed the decision, claiming that circumcision is not yet illegal.
“The Ministry of Health says it wants to cancel the doctor’s license, but the Syndicate cannot approve this because there is no law forbidding circumcision in Egypt. How can we revoke a doctor’s license when there is no law yet? El Sayyed told Daily News Egypt in a previous interview.
The National Council for Motherhood and Childhood headed by Moshira Khattab is spearheading a draft law to classify circumcision as a legal crime punishable by a prison penalty that ranging from three months to two years or a fine of a minimum LE 1,000 or maximum LE 2,000.
“This will apply on anyone who performs the surgery or is in the process of doing so, Khattab told Daily News Egypt in a previous interview.
Shahin added that the Health Ministry will launch a campaign that aims at reducing the percentage of female circumcision to 20 percent in the coming two years, with a total budget of LE 8.859 million. Additional reporting by Ethar Shalaby