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23 Jun, 2014 21:47

Sweden to battle female genital mutilation with online course

Sweden to battle female genital mutilation with online course

The Swedish government hopes to fight the rise of female genital mutilation in the country with a nationwide online training course for school and healthcare personnel.

“The phenomenon is increasing in Sweden, due to increased immigration,” Vanja Berggren, associate professor of public health science told newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), reported Sweden’s The Local. “It's important that all agencies are educated on the matter.”

Up to 60 cases of genital mutilation among elementary school girls have been discovered in Norrköping in eastern Sweden since March, local media reported last Friday. Among the cases, 28 girls were subjected to the most severe form of genital mutilation.

“When dealing with small children it is necessary to create a dialogue with the family, to inform them that cutting is illegal and that medical complications may arise,” Malin Ahrne, project leader of the assignment said.

The first part of the online training course is to be finished by the end of the year and a fully developed version will be ready to put to use by spring 2015.

Even as early as last year, the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs issued the country’s National Board of Health and Welfare the task of ensuring healthcare competence in the field of female genital mutilation (FGM).

“We will be pilot-testing the course in a couple of places this autumn” said Ahrne. “We hope that several city councils take it on directly.”

Projected figures from 2012 indicate that some 42,000 women and girls in Sweden have been subjected to the controversial procedure and some 7,000 are less than 10 years old.

Estimates were made based on the number of women who have roots in countries in which at least 50 percent of the population has undergone FMG.