Doctors in Egypt have taken time out of their surgeries for a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM) after the death of a 12-year-old girl, saying they do not want their white coats “stained with blood”.
Genital cutting of girls was banned in Egypt in 2008, but it remains persistent. A 2016 survey by the UN Children's Fund showed 87% of women and girls aged 15 to 49 had undergone the procedure.
The campaign, entitled “White Coats”, saw posters with the slogans “No to FGM” and “FGM is a Crime” put up at a Cairo metro station, where doctors in white coats gave out leaflets about the dangers of the practice.
Organiser Randa Fakhr El Deen, head of NGO Union Against Harmful Practices on Women and Children, said the doctors had faced challenges from proponents of FGM at the station, but the campaign was important.
“We want to send a message to other doctors that we do not want our white coats to be stained with blood, as well as to citizens that medicine refuses this practice.
“Some ultraconservatives were not convinced of what we were saying, but we opened a discussion with them, responded to their arguments and answered all their questions,” she said.