• Germany edition
 
First female genital mutilation clinic opens
Photo: DPA

First female genital mutilation clinic opens

Published: 10 Sep 2013 14:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Sep 2013 14:50 GMT+02:00

Europe's first clinic dedicated to treating women who have suffered female genital mutilation opened on Wednesday in Berlin. The Desert Flower Centre will offer both surgical and psychological care for those who have had the procedure.

Lead by a team of experts in gynaecological and pelvic surgery as well as psychiatrists, the Desert Flower Centre opened its doors to an anticipated 50 to 100 patients per year.

Also referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM), the World Health Organisation (WHO), states that the ritual procedure is carried out every 11 seconds, to varying degrees. These include cutting off a woman's clitoris, sewing together her vagina, or even sewing together the entire genital region.

Most common in parts of Africa, the WHO estimates that around 140 million girls and women have been subjugated to FGM. Around 50,000 of them live in Germany.

Even for women who live in western countries like Germany, a trip back to visit family in African countries sometimes ends in being circumcised. Richer families sometimes take their daughter to the hospital to have it performed, but often it will be done at home.

This can result in infection, incontinence and even fistulas – as the colon can be broken if the doctor is unskilled. Chronic pain and infertility are also possible consequences, as is an increased chance of a baby dying while it is being born – as their way out can be restricted due to badly healed scars and stitching.

It is these kinds of problems that will be treated at the clinic in Zehlendorf, south Berlin. The first few patients are already being seen to and three cases are being looked into, said Roland Scherer, head surgeon. Treatment will be paid for either by health insurance or, in the case of those without by the Desert Flower foundation.

Human rights organisation Terre des Femmes welcomed the opening. Spokeswoman Katharina Kunze did say that not every women who has been circumcised needs surgical treatment, more important is that doctors learn more about the subject.

Berlin-based Hadja Kaba set up the Mama Afrika foundation, which fights against FGM. Subjugated to it herself aged seven, she said that she chose to be circumcised. It was so normal in Guinea, where she grew up, that she “wanted to belong.”

She explained that the topic remained a taboo that “was passed down from mother to daughter and not spoken about loudly enough.”

Kaba said that even more important than setting up a clinic in Europe was for more education around the topic in Africa. “We need to talk, talk, talk about it,” said the 57-year-old.

Former supermodel Waris Dirie was at the opening of the centre, a bestselling author and Somalia native, she was circumcised at a young age and has protested against the procedure for a large part of her adult life.

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car
Sniffing out the money. Photo: DPA

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car

The number of Germans smuggling large amounts of cash across the Swiss border into Germany rose dramatically last year. Customs officers said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Crystal meth use hits record level
Crystal meth seized in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Crystal meth use hits record level

Consumption of crystal meth in Germany appears to have reached a record level, according to government figures published on Thursday. READ () »

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes
Leonardo had to have a finger and toe amputated after staff refused to call an ambulance. Photo: DPA

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes

A political row has broken out in Bavaria after an asylum seekers' home failed to help a toddler who almost died of meningitis. The case has raised concerns about the treatment of refugees in the state. READ () »

Bayern and Dortmund to face off for German Cup
Kaiserslautern fans let off flares in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night. Photo: DPA

Bayern and Dortmund to face off for German Cup

Holders Bayern Munich will face Borussia Dortmund in next month's German Cup final after cruising to a 5-1 win over second-division Kaiserslautern in Wednesday's semi-final. READ () »

Zalando hits back after undercover report
Working conditions at online retailer Zalando are under the spotlight. Photo: DPA

Zalando hits back after undercover report

Online fashion retailer Zalando has prompted an investigation by state prosecutors in Erfurt against an undercover journalist who revealed alleged "trade secrets" in a TV report on Monday night. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,149
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd