I would like to thank The Network: TUFH for this opportunity. I am honored to receive the best overall poster award. My colleague and I worked hard on this initiative and we are very happy to be recognized for our work through our poster.

This is the second time I have presented at a TUFH conference. I went to China in 2016 and presented a poster. That encouraged me to come and participate again in Tunisia. I learned that The Network is a place to know more people from different countries, languages and cultures. The Network: TUFH is a place to share experiences. It’s a place that will change your thoughts towards a lot of ideas and improve your skills. The activities that you organized during the conference for students; the SNO meetings, the mentor sessions, the post conference tour is beneficial and advantageous.

The most amazing thing about attending a Network: TUFH conferences is that we gather to share and create a new knowledge and then transfer it to our countries. We introduce our health problems to the world in order to figure out the solutions and learn to overcome from others triumphs. I made a lot of friendships from different countries, now I am in touch with them.

Read the full interview by clicking on the arrow

2017 Network: TUFH Best Overall Poster winner…Amal Hassan
By Alberta Steans-Parsons

Amal Hassan is a 4th year medical student at the University of Gazira.  The titled poster:  Practice and Attitude Towards Female Genital Mutilation Among Women of Rural Population of Almadina-Arab Village As a Part of “Rural Residency and Training in Rural Hospitals” Program of Faculty of Medicine, University of Gezira, Sudan. November 2015 was named the Best Overall Poster during the 2017 Would Summit on Social Accountability.  She said her aim was to spread awareness and inform those who are not aware of this practice in her country and region. 

“Women and girls are suffering from this practice, which needed to be stopped” The good news is evidence from our study shows this practice is declining.

What was your motivation for looking into FGM and for presenting this topic at The 2017 Network conference?
First of all I want to clarify that this research was a team work between me, and my colleague Wefag Ahmed who presented a poster in Tunisia about Social Accountability: Hayat Charitable Association 2016-2017.

We knew about FGM since we were young.  It’s a traditional practice in our country and around the region (Middle East and North Africa). It came to our minds as a critical medical and psychosocial issue during the Genitourinary course in the 4th year in the medical school when a lecture about FGM practice and its implications was presented by our professor Abdul Raheem hajjaz – who passed away in a car accident last year.
We wanted to know why people still consider FGM, how these girls feel, how they will live when they grow up, and what we can do to make a difference. 
After witnessing many girls who were victims of the practice and its implications, we decided to conduct a study.  We began brain storming while we were residing in Almadina Arab village as part of Rural Residency and Training in Rural Hospital program, supervised by Faculty of Medicine University of Gazira.  It was a cross sectional analytic study through a direct interview using a questionnaire. The samples were collected from the village’s population and then the outcome was turned into a presentation (poster).

Dose FGM take place in your region today? 
Unfortunately yes.

What do you want us to get out of this? 
My aim was to spread awareness and inform those who are not aware of the practice in our country and the region. 

In addition, I’d also mention that women and girls are suffering from this practice, which needed to be stopped.
FGM is a tradition that being practiced throughout generations dating back thousands of years (common among Pharaohs with all its social backgrounds). So we can say, it’s a community problem before being a health problem and it was originated from beliefs that it decreases the desire of females toward sex and subsequently reducing the rates of sexual abuse and illegal pregnancies among girls. People also think that men prefer circumcised women and the uncircumcised ones are considered as odd girls.   The worst thing is that this practice is carried out by Midwives who do not receive any medical training, without anesthetics or antiseptics measures and is often carried out using scissors, scalpels, or razor blades. 

So it’s a society issue, which needs an interdisciplinary intervention from the government, health

care professionals, international organizations, and medical students in order to develop better knowledge surrounding the consequences of this practice.  This will help health care professionals to formulate procedures that will lead to the elimination of FGM, as well as finding ways to care for those who have experienced It. 

Finally, there is evidence this practice declining, particularly when we make a comparison between the mothers and daughters and that make us optimistic in moving forward.  This is good news!