WHO fact sheet on female genital mutilation provides key facts and information on procedures, who is at risk, cultural, religious and social causes, international response and WHO response.
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
- The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
- Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
- More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where FGM is concentrated (1).
- FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
- FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
The Guttmacher Institute is a nonprofit organization focused on sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis and public education.
• In most of the world, the majority of young women become sexually active during their teenage years. The proportion is roughly one-half to two-thirds in Latin American and Caribbean countries, reaches three-quarters or more in much of the developed world and exceeds nine in 10 in many Sub-Saharan African countries.
• In some societies, women begin having sex during adolescence because they are expected to marry and begin childbearing at an early age. In others, marriage typically occurs later, but premarital sex is common. Undoubtedly, some societies are in transition from one social norm to the other.
• Regardless of the norm that influences young women, beginning sexual activity during the teenage years carries certain risks. For example, women who marry young often have little say in fertility-related decisions and limited opportunity to obtain education or job-related skills. Unmarried women who become pregnant may have to decide whether to obtain an abortion or try to support their child out of wedlock. Both married and unmarried women are vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, and those who bear children very early or frequently risk impairing their health.
This week Anne Firthy Murray interviews Isha Daramy, a nurse midwife from Sierra Leone, on womanhood and Female Genital Mutilation in Sierra Leone.
Organization: Magbil Mother and Child Health Centre (Sierra Leone)
Role: Director, Founder and Midwife
Vision: To help reduce the infant and maternal morbidity and mortality rate
Inspiring Challenge: Build another health center that will serve pregnant women and their newborn from surrounding villages.
Millennium Development Goal: Reduce Child Mortality (4); Improve Maternal Health (5); Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases (6)
Accomplishments:Recipient of UK Midwife of the Year award in 2008Improved the lives of women in the communities of Sierra Leone