Female genital mutilation and other harmful practices
Health consequences of female genital mutilation
Negative outcomes of female genital cutting (FGM) in Burkina Faso and Mali
Two clinic-based studies, reported in the same article in 1999 , involved observation of the types of FGM and possible associated gynaecological and delivery complications in women attending 21 clinics in rural Burkina Faso and four rural and four urban clinics in Mali. Women who came to the clinics for services that included a pelvic examination were included in the study, and trained clinic staff observed the presence and type of FGM and any associated complications.
In Burkina Faso, 1920 women were observed and interviewed at the 21 clinics during the study period (AprilJuly 1998). The sample included all those aged 1555 years who attended the clinics for any consultation that included a pelvic examination. In Mali, the data were collected as part of a broader study to test the effectiveness of educating health care providers about FGM. The eight Malian clinics were chosen because they were in an area with a high prevalence of FGM and a reasonably high concentration of health personnel specialized in obstetrics and gynaecology. In all, 5337 women were observed and interviewed in the clinics in Mali from July to September 1998.
The researchers report that 93% of the women in the Burkina Faso clinics and 94% of those in the Mali clinics had undergone some form of FGM (according to the 1997 classification). In Burkina Faso, type I (clitoridectomy) was the most prevalent, affecting 56% of the women observed in the study in that country. In Mali the more severe type II FGM (excision) was the most prevalent, being present in 74% of the women in the study there. Five per cent of the women in both countries had undergone type III FGM (infibulation). The researchers report “a clear positive relationship” between the type of FGM a woman has undergone and the likelihood of gynaecological and obstetric complications. “The more severe the cut, the more likely she is to have a complication,” the researchers say.
1. Jones H, Diop N, Askew I, Kaboré I. Female genital cutting practices in Burkina Faso and Mali and their negative health outcomes. Studies in Family Planning 1999; 30(3):219230.