attributed to him in our front page story of Wed 12 that he referred to UDP as a joke. Mayor Colley said in fact he was referring to the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and not the party. The devil’s error is regretted.
Legal regulations cannot stop FGM: Response to Jaha Dukureh
Permit me space in your widely read newspaper to react to comments by high-profile anti-FGM campaigner, Jaha Dukureh who recently called for criminalisation of FGM. In the interview she talked about her determination to meet major stake holders including members of parliament to end the practice. Though I hold Jaha in high esteem, I do not believe she is realistic.
In order to put an end to this practice that has been in existence for more than 5,000 years, a huge change of mentalities is indeed needful. FGM is a deeply-rooted tradition that cannot be stopped by legal regulations, but by the people themselves without external coercion. The most important step towards this is the creation of awareness among the practicing populations. This cannot be done without cooperation with the local authorities – village leaders, imams and teachers as well as former circumcisers.
It is also necessary, to grant the former circumcisers a small loan to enable them to start a new profession as has been done by Gamcotrap. Other projects meant to help directly the girls and women who are at risk of being mutilated should be implemented.
In the UK and increasingly in other parts of Europe, efforts are primarily focused on emigrants and their families, but also on doctors, psychologists and social workers.
FGM must also not be seen as taboo in society in order to give a stronger voice to those who nurture a strong trust and belief in every woman’s sacred right to physical integrity. The young girls need an office dedicated to counseling where they can ask for help, if they find out that their families are planning to circumcise their sisters and friends.
Good news on the Ebola ourbreak and the need for cooperation
Recent events related to the current outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa give hope for a solution to the crisis. The most affected countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone are registering decline in infections.
However, the outbreak indicates inevitable problems for the developed countries like the USA and Europe who have faced their own infections from the return of their citizens from overseas work albeit on a much smaller scale.
Individuals have became symptomatic from Ebola virus disease after having arrived from affected country and healthcare workers became infected with Ebola while caring for patients, either in West Africa or in non-affected countries where they had been medically evacuated .
All this follows the dramatic development of the epidemic in West Africa over the past months, and forecasts unanimously agree that it will take weeks if not months before the trend in the affected region can be inverted and the epidemic be controlled. Therefore, European countries will have to cope with more cases arriving from affected areas while being well prepared to prevent secondary transmission.
While infections in the dedicated healthcare settings in Europe will probably remain single and unfortunate events, they need to be investigated thoroughly in order to incorporate the lessons learnt from them into improved standards and procedures as well as consider them in training activities. This training and expertise should be shared with other countries in West Africa like my native Sierra Leone. The West should stop being racist and hypocritical and see us as human beings deserving of their help. Our futures as members of humanity are inter-related and the earlier they know that the better.