Female Genital Cutting: Culture & Health Ahoua Koné, JD, MPH Health Alliance International February 2011
FGC or FGM: what is it? • Ancestral Practice ~ 2000 B.C. • Moral outrage? • Rite of passage? • Health hazard?
Classification (by outsiders) (4 types: 0-III or I-IV) Type 0: Symbolic act Type I (Sunna) : Clitoridectomy - Partial or complete removal of clitoris Type II (Excision): Removal of clitoris + inner labia Type III (Infibulation): Removal of clitoris + both inner & outer labia + stitching
Reasons for practicing FGC? Culture? Right of passage? Increase chances for marriage? Religion? Preserve of female virginity? Control /enhance sexuality? Esthetic / beautify the girl or woman? Cleanliness? Unknown?
FGC by Country and Age Prevalence Among Younger and Older Women Percent Source: DHS STATcompiler: accessed online at www.measuredhs.com/statcompiler on July 21, 2004.
Health Consequences • Short term • Severe pain, hemorrhage, infection, urine retention • Long term – varies greatly according to type • UTI, obstetric complications, sexual dysfunction, psychological problems, death
How to address FGC? Medicalization? Criminalization? Eradication Policy development? Health Education? Advocacy? General Female Education? Cross-Cultural Interventions?