New study on FGM

A new medical study on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) commissioned by the World Health Organization adds new reasons -- as if they were needed -- to condemn the practice:

WHO's study, to be published Friday in The Lancet medical journal, found that women who have suffered the most serious form of genital mutilation have a 70 percent greater chance of experiencing post-childbirth hemorrhage compared with women who weren't mutilated. In countries where childbirth mortality rates for women are already high, "this particular process is practically a death sentence for them," Phumaphi said.

Children of genitally mutilated women also are at greater risk, the study found. Depending on the severity of the mutilation, neonatal death rates for these children range from 15 to 55 percent higher compared to other babies.
The above is lifted from this WHO press release, but you can read the whole technical study from The Lancet, which also has a commentary on it. One of the study's main findings is that arguments from "mild cutting" or sterilized operations instead of traditional ones -- which are carried out in the name of cultural sensitivity -- still leave women more at risk from complications during birth-giving and also puts their children at risk.

I know next to nothing about medicine or public health, so if someone wants to leave a more cogent explanation of the study, please do so in the comments. I thought the study was worth pointing out, particularly as Egypt is one of the places where FGM still routinely takes place.

Update: The NYT has more.
1 Comment

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.