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Comparison of Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) on Female Genital Mutilation prevalence in African countries
Authors: Kazue Tanaka, Jun Nishitani, and Kazuhiro Kakimoto
Source: Kokusai Hoken Iryo (Journal of International Health), 28(4); DOI: 10.11197/jaih.28.327
Topic(s): Female genital cutting (FGC)
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: DEC 2013
Abstract: Background Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which can be considered as one of the harmful effects for the health of pregnant women and violence to women, is performed widely as a social custom in some African countries. Therefore, this study aims to clarify the situation of FGM prevalence and a recent trend of African countries by using published health statistics. Method Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) full reports in African countries written in English in which topic of FGM is included and whose comparison was possible between the latest report and the one about ten years ago were obtained. And, indicators regarding FGM were compared by countries and years. Results Of six countries, the prevalence of FGM in five countries had a trend of decline, and their FGM prevalence rates were higher in rural areas than urban. In these countries, wider decline was seen in younger population. For example, in Tanzania, the prevalence changed from 13.5% to 7.1% in 15-19 years old, and from 22.2% to 21.5% in 45-49 years old between 1996 and 2010, respectively. On the other hand, the FGM prevalence of Nigeria was higher in urban areas than rural, and increased in younger women. Some DHS reported the variety of FGM prevalence by places and ethnic groups even in a country. Conclusions In many countries, the decline of FGM prevalence in young women could lead us to expectation of more decreased prevalence in the future. The health education to the young, who will become mothers, could be effective. However, since some countries have different characteristic features in the trend of FGM prevalence, it was suggested that sociocultural background should be individually considered for effective interventions.