Female genital mutilation and other harmful practices
Research studies on the medicalization of female genital mutilation
FGM and health workers
This report refers to the situation in Kenya. After summarizing the extent of FGM in Africa and the health dangers associated with it, the document raises concern about the medicalization of the practice in Kenya. It cites evidence that in 1998 one third of all women who had undergone FGM claimed they had been cut by a health care worker. Among the Abagusii, “whereas 94% of circumcised mothers had been cut by a traditional circumciser, 71% of girls aged 417 years had been cut by a nurse or doctor”. It is also reported that medical staff who defibulate women to facilitate childbirth may be requested to re-infibulate them afterwards.
The report describes official efforts to discourage FGM in Kenya (and to make it illegal in health facilities), and concludes with a set of suggestions to speed up abandonment of the practice – including enforcement of current policies, training in the complications that different forms of FGM may cause, and training in counselling patients against the practice.
1. Female genital mutilation in Kenya. Evidence links health workers to FGM. New York, NY, Population Council, Frontiers in Reproductive Health Program.