Female genital cutting. Evidence from the Demographic and Health Surveys.

Afr Popul Dev Bull. 1999 Jun-Jul:26-7.

Female genital cutting. Evidence from the Demographic and Health Surveys.

[No authors listed]

PIP: This article reports on the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Central African Republic (CAR), Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Mali, Tanzania and Yemen. Evidences from the Demographic and Health Surveys indicate that FGM is widely practiced in these countries. About 9 out of 10 women have had at least some part of their external genitalia removed in Egypt, Eritrea, Mali, and northern Sudan, while in Cote d’Ivoire and the CAR the practice is less common. A comparison of prevalence levels among age groups in women aged 15-49 years revealed little or no decline in FGM; however, the CAR displayed a slight, but continuous, decline in prevalence across age groups. Furthermore, educational level and religion were found to affect the prevalence rate. Also, the 1996 clinical study in Egypt found that more than 70% of the study population had at least part or all of their clitoris and labia minora excised. In Eritrea and Sudan, many women undergo infibulation, the most hazardous and extensive form of female genital cutting, which almost entirely closes off the vaginal opening. The study also showed that women who had undergone the operation had experienced adverse health effects like hemorrhage. Widespread and enduring support for FGM among women was noted in Egypt, Mali, and Sudan; only Eritrea appeared to have a critical mass of opposition to the procedure among the adult population, which suggests an openness to change.

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