Archives Blog Original research

Prevalence and associated factors of female genital mutilation among Somali refugees in eastern Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study.

BMC Public Health. 2009 Jul 27;9:264. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-264.FREE

Prevalence and associated factors of female genital mutilation among Somali refugees in eastern Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study.

Mitike G, Deressa W.


BACKGROUND: Eastern Ethiopia hosts a substantial number of refugees originated from Somalia. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a common practice in the area, despite the campaigns to eliminate it.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 492 respondents sampled from three refugee camps in Somali Regional State, Eastern Ethiopia, to determine the prevalence and associated factors of FGM. Data were collected using pre-tested structured questionnaires.

RESULTS: Although the intention of the parents to circumcise their daughters was high (84%), 42.4% of 288 < or = 12 girls were reported being undergone FGM. The prevalence increased with age, and about 52% and 95% were circumcised at the age of 7-8 and 11-12 years, respectively. Almost all operations were performed by traditional circumcisers (81%) and birth attendants (18%). Clitoral cutting (64%) and narrowing of the vaginal opening through stitching (36%) were the two common forms of FGM reported by the respondents. Participation of the parents in anti-FGM interventions is statistically associated with lower practice and intention of the procedures.

CONCLUSION: FGM is widely practised among the Somali refugee community in Eastern Ethiopia, and there was a considerable support for the continuation of the practice particularly among women. The findings indicate a reported shift of FGM from its severe form to milder clitoral cutting. More men than women positively viewed anti-FGM interventions, and fewer men than women had the intention to let their daughters undergo FGM, indicating the need to involve men in anti-FGM activities.

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Archives Blog Original research

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.

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Archives Blog Original research

Research on female circumcision in Somalia.

Newsl Inter Afr Comm Tradit Pract Affect Health Women Child. 1988 Mar;(5):10.

Research on female circumcision in Somalia.

Ahmed SM.

The 1st research on female circumcision and infibulation in Somalia was undertaken by the Women’s Research Unit in the Academy of Sciences and Arts. The project’s aim is to study in depth the magnitude of the problem and to identify the best means of uprooting it through an information campaign against all forms of female circumcision and infibulation. A study has since been conducted in the community of Barja to compare complications at delivery between women who are infibulated and those on whom the mildest form of female circumcision has been performed. Other activities planned include a survey of the practitioners to register the types of methods used, problems encountered and medications used, and to ascertain how these influence the types of circumcisions performed, as well as in-depth interviews with religious leaders exploring the best way of persuading them to come forward and announce that female circumcision is not prescribed in the religion. Case studies will also be conducted with men to learn their points of view since, in spite of their denials, they are the force behind the persistence of the practice.

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