Woman dies after genital mutilation aimed at conception

Zimbabwe - A woman has died in northern Zimbabwe after her genitals were cut in the hope she would conceive, it was reported on Thursday.

The 33-year-old woman from Binga had agreed to the procedure, the official Chronicle newspaper reported.

The paper said the victim's husband's grandmother performed the procedure at home with a razor blade. The grandmother, Matha Muzamba, 71, has since been arrested.

The deceased woman, Selina Mugande, sought medical help following excessive bleeding from the cut, which was done on August 31. She died three days after being discharged from a medical facility, apparently due to loss of blood.

Police spokesperson Siphiwe Makonese told the paper: "Following the recent incident which involved genital mutilation, we are concerned about the public's continued use of traditional means which aren't medically safe to treat their ailments."

The Chronicle said villagers in the district "often circumcise women by cutting off parts of their external genitalia to deal with [infertility and other problems]".

Female genital mutilation, usually carried out for non-medical reasons, is little talked about in Zimbabwe ,but reportedly goes on in some communities. 

One controversial practice is the elongation of the labia.

Well-known women's rights activist Betty Makoni has campaigned against female genital mutilation - and particularly labia elongation - in Zimbabwean communities.

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