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Female circumcision and child mortality in urban Somalia.

Genus. 1991 Jul-Dec;47(3-4):203-23.

Female circumcision and child mortality in urban Somalia.

Abstract

In Somalia, a demographer analyzed urban data obtained from the Family Health Survey to examine the effect female circumcision has on child mortality and the mechanism of that effect. Girls undergo female circumcision between 5-12 years old in Somalia. Since sunni circumcision (removal of the clitoral prepuce and tip of the clitoris) and clitoridectomy (removal of the entire clitoris) did not affect child mortality, he used them as the reference group. Infibulation (entire removal of the clitoris and of the labia minora and majora with the remains of the labia majora being sewn together allowing only a small opening for passage of urine) did affect child mortality. Female children who underwent infibulation and whose mothers most likely also underwent infibulation experienced higher mortality (13-72%) than those from other circumcised mothers. Female mortality exceeded male mortality indicating possible son preference. Mothers with clitoridectomy or infibulation had significantly higher infant mortality than those with sunni circumcision with the strongest effects during the neonatal period (95% and 42% higher mortality, respectively; p=.01). The effect of female circumcision on child mortality decreased with increased child’s age. This higher than expected mortality among women with clitoridectomy may have been because women with infibulation had more stillbirths which were not counted as births. The exposed vagina of clitoridectomized women is more likely to be infected resulting in high risk of stillbirths and premature births than the closed vagina of infibulated women. The researcher suggested that the policies promoting education and consciousness raising may eventually eradicate female circumcision. This longterm campaign should use mass media, senior women of high status, and respected religious leaders. Legislation prohibiting this practice would only drive it underground under unsanitary conditions. Demographers should no longer ignore female circumcision’s effect on mortality and other demographic variables.

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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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Female circumcision in Somalia: some psychosocial aspects

Genus. 1985 Jan-Jun; 41(1-2):133-47

Female circumcision in Somalia: some psychosocial aspects

Gallo PG

ABSTRACT

This article on female circumcision begins with a brief review of literature, and goes on to discuss the results of an extensive field investigation on female circumcision conducted in Somalia, resulting in an analysis of the psychosocial aspects connected with the practice. The attitudes of women towards the practice, their opinions regarding the maintenance of the practice in the country, and their expectations as to their daughter’s circumcision were examined. The study population contained 2947 subjects, including 1410 married women, mostly mothers, 19.4% of which were illiterate, 20.3% with primary education. The average age was 25.8 years +or- 16.30. The results reveal: 1) The positive attitudes of the study population towards the custom. This approval shows no special relationship with ethnic group, rural or urban residence, or custom regarding mode of circumcision (infibulation, sunna, or clitoridectomia). It finds support in the ignorance of the negative aspects of the practice and the relative value granted to the positive ones. Most of the consequences become evident only several years after the operation; as a result the connection between cause and effects is not made by all of the women. 2) An average of 4 out of 5 women believe that circumcision should be continued and only 1 in 5 declared that it should be abandoned; whatever the age group ethnic group, or education group to which the women belong. 3) The interviewed subjects were generally in favor of the attenuated type of circumcision for their daughters. Few mothers (5%) in modern Somalia accept the idea of not submitting their daughters to traditional customs. In fact, many factors related to the whole family and social environment, not only the mother’s wishes, condition the decision regarding the girl’s circumcision.

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Female circumcision in Somalia: anthropological traits

Anthropol Anz. 1985 Dec; 43(4):311-26

Female circumcision in Somalia: anthropological traits

Grassivaro Gallo P, Abdisamed M.

ABSTRACT

In 1981, 2497 subjects (comprising women and girls) were interviewed in Somalia, mostly in Mogadish, about female circumcision. In this study there are presented the principle cultural trends which are connected with the custom and which have arisen from the research. Even today, the practice of female circumcision is universal in Somalia; the percentage of circumcised women was 99.3%. Infibulation is the commonest type of circumcision used (75.7%). The age of circumcision varies from birth to 15; the average being 7.5. The type of circumcision does not seem to be influenced by some environmental variables (e.g. birth place of parents or place of circumcision), it is primarily determined by the population of the individual region. Infibulation is accepted to the greatest extent by the pastoral populations of the middle/northern regions, principally in Ogaden and in the 4 Somalian regions on which it borders: Togdheer, Nugal, Muddug, Galgadud. In the southern regions (Upper, Middle, Lower Giuba) amongst rural populations or populations with a cattle/cultivation economy, there are also attenuated types of circumcision: sunna and clitoridectomia (20 to 30%). The evolution of the practice was studied by data of the subjects, of their mothers and of their daughters. From this analysis there was no indication toward non-circumcision. There is, however, a movement towards the attenuated forms of circumcision. The fundamental key to such an attenuated operation for a child seems to be the presence of the same attenuation in previous generations.

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Attitudes toward female circumcision among Somali immigrants in Oslo: a qualitative study

Int J Womens Health. 2012;4:7-17. Epub 2012 Jan 20.FREE

Attitudes toward female circumcision among Somali immigrants in Oslo: a qualitative study

Gele AA, Kumar B, Hjelde KH, Sundby J

ABSTRACT
Due to its negative impact on public health, female circumcision (FC) has gained increased attention from international communities and the Norwegian public in recent decades. In 1995, the Norwegian government outlawed the practice and simultaneously developed a package of measures aimed at preventing and ultimately eradicating FC in Norway. Like many other Western countries, immigrants of Somali descent constitute the largest immigrant group in Norway from countries with FC traditions. Although this immigrant group is often perceived as a cultural society that supports FC generally as a practice, there appears to be a lack of studies that explore the impact of acculturation and the Western social context on Somali immigrants’ attitudes toward the practice. Against this background, this paper explores the attitudes of Somalis living in Oslo, Norway to the practice of FC. Findings from this qualitative study indicate that Somalis in Oslo have, to a large extent, changed their attitude toward the practice. This was proven by the presence in Oslo of a large number of Somali parents who left their daughters uncut as well as Somali girls, boys, men, and women who attribute being uncircumcised a high status. This study adds to the knowledge of the process of abandonment of FC among immigrants in the Western countries. The study highlights the success that has been achieved in improving attitudes toward the practice of the Somali community in Oslo, Norway, as well as emerging challenges that need to be addressed further.

This article can be accessed in this LINK