Tag Archives: World Health Organization

A specialized agency of the United Nations designed as a coordinating authority on international health work; its aim is to promote the attainment of the highest possible level of health by all peoples.

Female genital mutilation: the ethical impact of the new Italian law.

J Med Ethics. 2007 Feb;33(2):98-101. FREE

Female genital mutilation: the ethical impact of the new Italian law.

Turillazzi E, Fineschi V.

Department of Legal Medicine, University of Foggia, Policlinico Ospedali Riuniti, Via Luigi Pinto 1, 71100 Foggia, Italy.


Despite global and local attempts to end female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice persists in some parts of the world and has spread to non-traditional countries through immigration. FGM is of varying degrees of invasiveness, but all forms raise health-related concerns that can be of considerable physical or psychological severity. FGM is becoming increasingly prohibited by law, both in countries where it is traditionally practised and in countries of immigration. Medical practice prohibits FGM. The Italian parliament passed a law prohibiting FGM, which has put in place a set of measures to prevent, to oppose and to suppress the practice of FGM as a violation of a person’s fundamental rights to physical and mental integrity and to the health of women and girls. The Italian law not only treats new offences but also wants to deal with the problem in its entirety, providing important intervention in all the sectors. Different kinds of interventions are considered, starting with the development of informative campaigns, training of health workers, institution of a tollfree number, international cooperation programmes and the responsibility of the institution where the crime is committed. Particularly, the law recognises that doctors have a role in eliminating FGM by educating patients and communities.

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Ethical concerns in female genital cutting.

Afr J Reprod Health. 2008 Apr;12(1):7-16.FREE

Ethical concerns in female genital cutting. [Article in English, French]

Cook RJ.


Un souci éthique initial consiste à savoir comment appeler au juste ce que l’organisation mondiale  de la santé (OMS) a décrit comme:

Toutes les procédures qui impliquent l’enlèvement partiel ou complet des organes génitaux externes de la femme et/ou la blessure infligée aux organes génitaux pour des raisons culturelles ou d’autres raisons  non-therapeutiques.

Un nom qu’on emploie communément y compris par l’OMS elle-même, est la « mutilation génitale féminine », mais cette description peut être éthiquement inappropriée. De manière descriptive, le mot « mutilation » peut être exagéré, parce qu’il n’arrive pas à faire la distinction entre les quatre types d’incision génitale reconnue par l’OMS. Comme évaluation, le nom n’est pas une description neutre, mais un jugement grossement sévère, puisqu’il condamne ceux qui recherchent, autorisent et réalisent telle incision comme des mutilateurs des êtres humains.  Culturellement, le nom manque de respect, parce qu’il ne respecte pas la motivation avec laquelle ceux qui demandent la procédure pour leurs filles agissent.  Sur le plan personnel, encore une fois, le nom manque de respect, parce qu’il dit aux femmes qui ont subi les procédures qu’elles ont été mutilées par leurs parents ou par des membres de leurs familles.  Au sein des communautés dans lesquelles la pratique prédomine, elle est décrite par le mot qui signifie la purification. Dan certaines communautés, la purité est une condition pour le mariage d’une jeune fille, qui s’avère essentielle pour l’avenir des filles là où les femmes célibataires n’ont pas d’opportunités.  Une étude menée par l’OMS qui porte des critiques sur la procédure a conclu que…

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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

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Statement on female genital mutilation from the staff of Explore.

Explore (NY). 2010 Jul-Aug;6(4):220.

Statement on female genital mutilation from the staff of Explore.

Dossey L, Kligler B, Radin D, Sierpina V, Fenton M, Horrigan B, Schwartz SA.

…. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM), according to the World Health Organization. Sometimes called female circumcision, FGM includes procedures that intentionally alter, injure, or partially or totally remove the external female genitalia for nonmedical reasons. These procedures include but are not limited to clitorectomy, partial or total excision of the labia, and infibulation. They are usually carried out on girls between infancy and age 15 years. They confer no health benefits but can cause severe bleeding, infection, death, anxiety, fear, pain, urinary problems, and later, childbirth complications. Although FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, it persists widely in many African, Middle Eastern, and Asian…

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Female genital mutilation: cultural practice or human rights violation?

Ala Nurse. 2011 Mar-May;38(1):1, 8.

Female genital mutilation: cultural practice or human rights violation?

Guzman AL.

St. Luke’s Boise C.A.R.E.S. Program/North West Nazarene University, Emmett, Idaho
83617, USA. guzmana@slhs.org

No link to view this article online.

Correspondence: Female Genital Mutilation

Lancet. 2006 Aug;368(9535):579

Correspondence: Female Genital Mutilation

Rymer J


I was pleased to see that there is now confirmation that women who have undergone female genital mutilation are significantly more likely to experience adverse obstetric outcomes than those who have not (June 3, p 1835).1 I am sure this will raise the awareness of this barbaric practice, and could be one step further towards its eradication…

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Feature: Issues on female genital mutilation/cutting—progress and parallels

Lancet. 2006 Dec;368:S64 – S67

Feature: Issues on female genital mutilation/cutting—progress and parallels

Morris K


Practices vary and include sewing the labia together, clitoral tip removal, and total excision of clitoris and labia majora, sometimes with subsequent closure of wound edges (infibulation), leaving a small hole for menstrual and urinary flow. More than 130 million women and girls alive today have undergone FGM/C, in some countries in Africa, the middle East, and southeast Asia, and increasingly among migrants from these areas. Girls mostly aged 5—14 years (though in some countries under 5 years) are generally subjected to FGM/C—and boys circumcised— by lay practitioners in unsterile conditions. Robust evidence now links FGM/C with primary infertility, poorer obstetric outcomes, and neonatal complications…

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Reliability of self reported form of female genital mutilation and WHO classification: cross sectional study.

BMJ. 2006 Jul 15;333(7559):124. Epub 2006 Jun 27.

Reliability of self reported form of female genital mutilation and WHO classification: cross sectional study.

Elmusharaf S, Elhadi N, Almroth L.

Division of International Health, Karolinska Institutet, SE 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden. Sozan.Elmusharaf@ki.se

Comment in BMJ. 2006 Jul 15;333(7559):106-7. BMJ. 2006 Jul 29;333(7561):259-60.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the reliability of self reported form of female genital mutilation (FGM) and to compare the extent of cutting verified by clinical examination with the corresponding World Health Organization classification. DESIGN: Cross sectional study. SETTINGS: One paediatric hospital and one gynaecological outpatient clinic in Khartoum, Sudan, 2003-4. PARTICIPANTS: 255 girls aged 4-9 and 282 women aged 17-35. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The women’s reports of FGMthe actual anatomical extent of the mutilation, and the corresponding types according to the WHO classification. RESULTS: All girls and women reported to have undergone FGM had this verified by genital inspection. None of those who said they had not undergone FGM were found to have it. Many said to have undergone “sunna circumcision” (excision of prepuce and part or all of clitoris, equivalent to WHO type I) had a form of FGM extending beyond the clitoris (10/23 (43%) girls and 20/35 (57%) women). Of those who said they had undergone this form, nine girls (39%) and 19 women (54%) actually had WHO type III (infibulation and excision of part or all of external genitalia). The anatomical extent of forms classified as WHO type III varies widely. In 12/32 girls (38%) and 27/245 women (11%) classified as having WHO type III, the labia majora were not involved. Thus there is a substantial overlap, in an anatomical sense, between WHO types II and III. CONCLUSION: The reliability of reported form of FGM is low. There is considerable under-reporting of the extent. The WHO classification fails to relate the defined forms to the severity of the operation. It is important to be aware of these aspects in the conduct and interpretation of epidemiological and clinical studies. WHO should revise its classification.

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