Tag Archives: Medicine/African Traditional

A system of traditional medicine which is based on the beliefs and practices of the African peoples. It includes treatment by medicinal plants and other materia medica as well as by the ministrations of diviners, medicine men, witch doctors, and sorcerers.

A cross sectional study on factors associated with harmful traditional practices among children less than 5 years in Axum town, north Ethiopia, 2013.

Reprod Health. 2014 Jun 21;11:46. doi: 10.1186/1742-4755-11-46.FREE

A cross sectional study on factors associated with harmful traditional practices among children less than 5 years in Axum town, north Ethiopia, 2013.

Gebrekirstos K, Abebe M, Fantahun A.


BACKGROUND: Every social grouping in the world has its own cultural practices and beliefs which guide its members on how they should live or behave. Harmful traditional practices that affect children are Female genital mutilation, Milk teeth extraction, Food taboo, Uvula cutting, keeping babies out of exposure to sun, and Feeding fresh butter to new born babies. The objective of this study was to assess factors associated with harmful traditional practices among children less than 5 years of age in Axum town, North Ethiopia.

METHODS: Community based cross sectional study was conducted in 752 participants who were selected using multi stage sampling; Simple random sampling method was used to select ketenas from all kebelles of Axum town. After proportional allocation of sample size, systematic random sampling method was used to get the study participants. Data was collected using interviewer administered Tigrigna version questionnaire, it was entered and analyzed using SPSS version 16. Descriptive statistics was calculated and logistic regressions were used to analyze the data.

RESULTS: Out of the total sample size 50.7% children were females, the mean age of children was 26.28 months and majority of mothers had no formal education. About 87.8% mothers had performed at least one traditional practice to their children; uvula cutting was practiced on 86.9% children followed by milk teeth extraction 12.5% and eye borrows incision 2.4% children. Fear of swelling, pus and rapture of the uvula was the main reason to perform uvula cutting.

CONCLUSION: The factors associated with harmful traditional practices were educational status, occupation, religion of mothers and harmful traditional practices performed on the mothers.

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Kallestein: The Cut

Midwifery Today, 2009, issue 90

The Cut

Kallestein LM


I was just about to witness a young girl have her genitals cut off at the hand of her mother. Intentionally. With a razor blade. The government official, who should have prevented it from happening, smiled his semi-toothless smile at me, from outside the boma (homestead).

The chief respected the traditional law of no men allowed inside the ring of mud huts during the ceremony. He had no respect for the crime against Kenyan law that was about to take place, or the gross violation of basic human rights—a violent act against a helpless child…

The razor blade reflected the rays of the rising sun.

All around were smiles and hushed laughter. Expectations. The main focus for most of the people standing in and around the boma was to get it over with, but not out of sympathy for 14-year-old Mary, who stood shivering as the sun made its way above the horizon. They simply couldn’t wait for it to be party time.

And my role in all of this? I was the guest of honor….

This article can be accessed in this LINK

E-solidarity, a means of fighting against FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)

Education and the Knowledge Society. IFIP International Federation for Information Processing. 2005, 161: 231-236.

E-solidarity, a means of fighting against FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)

Corsini-Karagouni A


This project aims to contribute to the eradication of the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) throughout the Maasailand in Kenya in agreement with the World Health Organisation (WHO) policy by large-scale distribution of information to the remote Maasai villages, by creation of awareness, by proposing alternative rituals, by improvement of the social (and economic) status of women and by encouragement of Maasai families to send female children to school. e-Society means will be used in the understanding that these are not in opposition to preserving tradition and ethnic identity

This article can be purchased in this LINK

Female genital cutting and other intra-vaginal practices: implications for TwoDay Method use.

J Biosoc Sci. 2012 Sep;44(5):631-5.

Female genital cutting and other intra-vaginal practices: implications for TwoDay Method use.

Aksel S, Sinai I, Yee KA.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA.


This report examines the implications of female genital cutting and other intra-vaginal practices for offering the TwoDay Method® of family planning.This fertility awareness-based method relies on the identification of cervicovaginal secretions to identify the fertile window. Female genital cutting and traditional vaginal practices, such as the use of desiccants, may affect the presence or absence of secretions and therefore the woman’s perception of her fertility. These issues and their implications for service delivery of the method are discussed.

There is no link to view this article online.

Female genital mutilation in Kenya and Sudan.

Afr Popul Newsl. 1995 Jan-Jun;(67):6-7.

Female genital mutilation in Kenya and Sudan.

[No authors listed]


PIP: Female genital mutilation is still practiced in 28 African countries despite international calls for its abolishment. A 1991 survey of 1365 14-year-old girls undertaken by a nongovernmental organization in Kenya revealed that 90% had suffered mutilation ranging from the least mutilating form, “sunna” to excision to infibulation. Most of the procedures had taken place when the girls were aged 10-14 years as part of a ritual where the same unsterile knife was used on several girls. Whereas 65% of respondents stated that they approved of female genital mutilation, a little more than a third would abolish the practice. In Sudan, a 1989-90 Demographic and Health Survey of 5860 ever married women aged 15-49 included a number of questions related to female genital mutilation. 89% of respondents were mutilated, and 82% of these had suffered infibulation. This prevalence rate showed a decrease from the 96% level recorded in 1977-78. Among younger women, the incidence of sunna is increasing. Most of these procedures were performed by medical workers such as trained midwives or traditional birth attendants. 79% of the respondents favored continuation of the procedure, but women with a secondary-level education and urban women showed strong opposition. Most women cite tradition as the reason for their approval, and almost half of the women who disapprove cite medical complications. This survey provided the necessary data to implement a policy of eradication of this harmful practice through increasing women’s education and provoking open discussion about the procedure.

There is no link to view this article online.

Rwandan female genital modification: elongation of the Labia minora and the use of local botanical species.

Cult Health Sex. 2008 Feb;10(2):191-204.LME

Rwandan female genital modification: elongation of the Labia minora and the use of local botanical species.

Koster M, Price LL

Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University, Netherlands. marian.koster@wur.nl


The elongation of the labia minora is classified as a Type IV female genital mutilation by the World Health Organization. However, the term mutilation carries with it powerful negative connotations. In Rwanda, the elongation of the labia minora and the use of botanicals to do so is meant to increase male and female pleasure. Women regard these practices as a positive force in their lives. This paper aims to assess whether Rwandan vaginal practices should indeed be considered a form of female genital mutilation and whether the botanicals used by women are detrimental to their health. Research was carried out in the northeast of Rwanda over the course of 13 months. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with thirteen informants. Two botanicals applied during stretching sessions were identified as Solanum aculeastrum Dunal and Bidens pilosa L. Both have wide medicinal use and contain demonstrated beneficial bioactive compounds. We suggest that it is therefore more appropriate to describe Rwandan vaginal practices as female genital modification rather than mutilation.

This article can be purchased in this LINK