Tag Archives: Public Health

Female circumcision as a public health issue

The New England Journal of Medicine. 1994;Sept 15:712-716FREE

Female circumcision as a public health issue

Toubia N


In many civilizations, certain surgical procedures have profound cultural and social meanings. Male circumcision, for example, has deeb importance as a symbol of religious and ethnic identity and has played a major part in the political and social history of many peoples. Female circumcision has particularly strong cultural meaning because it is closely linked to women’s sexuality and their reproductive role in society…

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The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003: an overview for district nurses.

Br J Community Nurs. 2009 Feb;14(2):86-9.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003: an overview for district nurses.

Griffith R, Tengnah C.

School of Health Sciences, Swansea University, UK. richard.griffith@swan.ac.uk


Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM with some three million girls at risk in Africa every year. The procedure has no health benefits and can cause severe bleeding and continence problems, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths. FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of one’s human rights (World Health Organisation, 2008). In the UK it is a procedure outlawed by the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

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Public health, cultural norms and the criminal law: an inconvenient union? A case study of female genital cutting.

Med Law. 2012 Sep;31(3):451-72.

Public health, cultural norms and the criminal law: an inconvenient union? A case study of female genital cutting.

Iyioha I.

Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario, London ON, Canada. Ireh.patricia@gmail.com


Social and cultural stereotypes held about women and their health needs constitute a significant barrier to the enforcement of laws protecting women’s health. While the promulgation of remedial legislation to address the problem is a positive step towards protecting women’s health, these laws are promulgated in a cultural milieu that remains unwelcoming to women’s rights. The clash between long-held cultural perceptions and health laws, such as those affecting women’s reproductive health, engenders more problems for women’s health because the laws sometimes fail to produce the desired behavioural changes. This paper attempts to debunk the uncritical assumption that legislative reforms without more are positive instruments of change in protecting women’s health. In outlining this thesis, the paper examines the legal prohibition of Female Genital Cutting (‘FGC’) as a case study. To determine whether FGC prohibition laws are likely to be effective in achieving the public health agenda of protecting women’s health, the paper analyzes FGC laws against the normative and instrumental theories of legal compliance, as well as against the socio-cultural worldviews underlying the practice. It concludes that legislative efforts to protect women’s health may remain ineffective without structured efforts between health systems, governments or legal institutions and the cultural society.

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Effectiveness of Interventions Designed to Prevent Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Systematic Review

Stud Fam Plann. 2012 June 43(2): 135-146

Effectiveness of Interventions Designed to Prevent Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Systematic Review

Berg RC, Denison E


Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is widely considered a human rights infringement, although communities that practice the tradition view it as an integral part of their culture. Given these vastly different views, the effectiveness of efforts to abandon FGM/C is uncertain. We conducted a systematic review of the best available evidence regarding evaluations of interventions to prevent FGM/C, including eight controlled before-and-after studies with 7,042 participants from Africa. Findings indicate that 19 of 49 outcomes (with baseline similarity) were significantly different at study level, mostly favoring the intervention, but results from four meta-analyses showed considerable heterogeneity. The limited effectiveness and weak overall quality of the evidence from the studies appear related to methodological limitations of the studies and shortcomings in the implementation of the interventions. Nevertheless, the findings point to possible advantageous developments from the interventions.

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Criminalisation, sexual and reproductive rights, public health–and justice.

Reprod Health Matters. 2009 Nov;17(34):4-9. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(09)34492-4. FREE

Criminalisation, sexual and reproductive rights, public health–and justice.

Berer M.


The papers in this journal issue are about the law and criminalisation relating to rape and sexual violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), selling and buying sex, provision and use of modern contraception and induced abortion, homosexuality, and HIV transmission and exposure. The papers are highly thought-provoking, especially when read together, not least because the question of whether criminalisation is a good thing or a bad thing must be answered quite, quite differently in relation to each criminalised practice explored. It is easy to argue why modern contraception and induced abortion should be legal because they are necessary to protect women’s lives and health, and that sexual identity is inherent in the person and must be respected by society and protected in law. It is not so easy to determine how justice should be best served, as opposed to exacting retribution or revenge, or how to protect the rights of both perpetrators and victims, when a serious or life-threatening harm has been done, including and even in the absence of criminal intent to harm, as with HIV transmission and exposure….

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