Online Program

Female genital mutilation: Current practices and perceptions in Somaliland

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Trista Smith, M.S., Center for Global Health, Department of Community Health, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Kettering, OH
Cristina Redko, PhD, Center for Global Health, Department of Community Health, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Kettering, OH
Nikki Rogers, PhD, Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, Wright State University - Boonshoft School of Medicine, Kettering, OH
Background: Somaliland, Africa has the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the world despite its recognition as a human rights violation and decades of campaigns to eliminate it. This study established baseline data for FGM prevalence in Somaliland and explored changing perceptions of FGM among Somalis. Methods:  A descriptive study was conducted among 6,108 women at the Edna Adan University Hospital (EAUH) from 2006-2013. Data were obtained regarding FGM status and knowledge and perception towards the practice. Chi-square analysis was conducted to compare current and previous studies conducted at EAUH. Results:  The prevalence rate of FGM among respondents was 98.4% and procedures took place at an average age of 8.47 years.  Most participants (82.20%) underwent the most severe Type III or Pharaonic FGM. The most commonly cited reasons for practicing FGM were to maintain cultural and traditional values (82.9%).  Continuation of the practice was supported among 83.17% of respondents, the majority of whom reported a preference for the milder Type I or II Sunna FGM (95.15%). Women who attended university were subjected to FGM less than their uneducated counterparts, and younger women reported a higher prevalence of the milder Sunna FGM. Comparison of the current and previous studies revealed a shift toward the less invasive Sunna type FGM (χ2=16.81, p=0.0).  Conclusions:  Prevalence of FGM remains high in Somaliland, suggesting that advocacy to abandon the act has been unsuccessful. Pharaonic FGM currently predominates; however, comparison with previous baseline data indicates a trend toward the milder Sunna type FGM.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the prevalence of female genital mutilation in Somaliland, Africa. Identify perceptions of Somali women toward continuation of the female genital mutilation. Identify long-term trends in the type of female genital mutilation performed.

Keyword(s): Public Health Research, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was involved in all aspects of the data analysis and research required for this paper.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.