Key Note Address- Head of RMHSU-continue

doctors, nurses, and midwives. This is known as medicalization of FGM/C practice. According to the PRB in 2014, 19.7 percent of those who had undergone FGM/C in Kenya were medically performed.

Reproductive and Maternal Health Services Unit (RMHSU) provides leadership in the development of national policies and guidelines regarding reproductive health and related health areas - supporting the county government. To help eliminate harmful practices, RMHSU also works with a range of technical and implementing partners to increase access to quality treatment and rehabilitative reproductive health services for those affected by harmful practices and gender-based violence. RMHSU therefore has the pleasure to partner with ACCAF at the University of Nairobi, UNFPA and other partners to counter medicalization of the FGM/C practice.

I therefore encourage the county executives of health and the directors of health in the counties to ensure that medical practitioners refrain from performing procedures such as FGM/C which only have negative and adverse effects on the health of women and girls. They should encourage medical practitioners to play an active role as leaders, role models, counsellors, and change agents in the communities about the harmful effects that FGM/C has on the health of women and girls and encourage abandonment of the practice. They should also encourage expectant women who attend the ante-natal clinics, and have undergone FGM/C to utilize skilled birth attendant in order to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.

The medical practitioners should also endeavour to effectively treat FGM/C related complications, and to mitigate the negative effects suffered by survivors of the practice. To this end, medical practitioners need to be trained on the management and care of patients who have undergone FGM/C. It is especially important for midwives and nurses to understand the medical procedures that need to be performed on patients who have undergone FGM/C - e.g scars, fistula, kelloids etc  in order to save the lives of mothers and children at the time of birth. The RMHSU assures its support to ACCAF in its activities aimed at abandonment of FGM/C including the training of health care providers especially on management of the complications that arise due to FGM/C.

Lastly, all health care providers should at all times uphold the professional ethics and observe their code of conduct that has no provision for any service provider to perform FGM/C. This will come a long way in reducing medicalization of the practice. Thank you."