Forum urging action to cease ‘mutilation’

RAISING awareness and showing support for the over 200 million girls and women alive today who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has hosted Health Forum 2024 to acknowledge the International Day of Zero Tolerance.

Jasmin Ellis and Ibu Fanny Buana

Held at the Auburn Centre for Community, the event focused on this year’s theme, ‘Her Voice. Her Future. Investing in Survivor-Led Movements to end FGM/C’, and echoed the urgent need for collective action to ensure a future where every woman and girl is free from the threat.
Among the distinguished speakers were Jasmin Ellis, General Manager of Integrated & Community Health at WSLHD, and Ibu Fanny Buana, the wife of the Indonesian Consul General, both of whom delivered stirring addresses.
Ibu highlighted the necessity of a united front involving governments, NGOs, communities and individuals worldwide.
“Ending Female Genital Mutilation requires a collaborative approach,” she said.
“Through education, legislation, and community empowerment, we can eradicate FGM/C and pave the way for the protection of women’s and girls’ rights, health and well-being.”
Jasmin echoed these sentiments, emphasising the need to empower women and girls for social and economic equality.
“An equitable world begins with ensuring that every woman and girl has the opportunity to lead, to thrive and to influence the future,” she said.
The event was also attended by Alison Derrett, WSLHD’s Executive Director Operations, whose participation underscored the significance of the forum within the broader health landscape.
Dr Ahlam Ibrahim, a general practitioner, delved into the role of healthcare providers in empowering and supporting FGM/C survivors to thrive.
Similarly, Associate Professor Nesrin Varol explored the psychosexual and physical health challenges faced by survivors, emphasising the need for holistic care and support.
The event also showcased the NSW Education Program on FGM/C, which has been instrumental in working alongside affected communities for over 25 years.