Target: Dr. Ahmed Emad El Din Rady, Minister of Health and Population
Goal: Express support for a doctor who is launching a campaign to prevent occurrences of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Dr. Somaia Antar has announced a plan to stamp out the practice of female genital mutilation, which is still commonly practiced in Egypt despite being illegal. Sign the petition and express your support for her initiative by urging the government to offer any assistance she may require.
FGM was outlawed in Egypt eight years ago, but recently many doctors have quietly returned to the practice as “cutting fees”–the amount of money a family will pay to have girls circumcised–have risen dramatically. “Doctors do it for the money. They can earn a lot. The fee has gone up more than 10 times since it became illegal,” Dr. Antar says.
She has announced plans to head up a city-wide initiative in which doctors and other “health promoters” will report any cases of FGM to her. Doctors who violate the law will first be given the opportunity to take “awareness training” and change their policies; any instances after the initial warning will result in their being reported to the police.
FGM is a deeply-entrenched tradition for many people in Egypt, although perceptions have changed a bit in recent years. Dr. Antar herself circumcised two girls in the 1980s before looking into the practice and deciding to abandon it. Many people mistakenly believe there is a religious reason for the act, but the Qu’ran is silent on the topic of female circumcision. It is clear that education can play a key role in abolishing the practice, but it is equally clear that money is a strong temptation toward breaking the law.
Dr. Antar’s work is important for the health of girls and young women in Cairo, and it can also be a shining beacon for doctors and patients in other places around the world. Sign the petition and express your support for Dr. Antar’s campaign.
I am writing to express my support of Dr. Somaia Antar’s initiative to rid Cairo of all cases of female genital mutilation (FGM), and to urge the Ministry of Health and Population to support her in her campaign. I believe that Dr. Antar’s work could make a huge difference in the lives of those living in Egypt, as well as provide a stellar example for other cities and countries around the world.
Although FGM was outlawed eight years ago, cutting fees have risen dramatically since then, tempting many doctors into the practice with the promise of a lucrative payout. Dr. Antar’s initiative focuses on peer policing and education efforts to eliminate this unnecessary and harmful practice once and for all.
She has urged doctors and other “health promoters” in Cairo to report any known cases of FGM to her. The doctor responsible will then be given the opportunity to take an awareness course. If he or she continues to perform the procedure, Dr. Antar will report him or her to the police for violating the law.
The simple brilliance of this plan is that it focuses not only on punishment, but on changing widespread and deeply-held beliefs about FGM, most of which are erroneous. This will hopefully contribute to an environment in which doctors not only refuse to perform the procedure, but families have no interest in seeking it out.
Dr. Antar’s work is vitally important to the health of young women and girls in Egypt. I urge you to publicly support her efforts, and to offer her any resources that may help her in this undertaking.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: AnonMoos