Female genital mutilation rates drop for African girls but teens still at risk.
Female genital mutilation has dropped drastically among African children this century, research shows, but campaigners said that teenagers and young women remained at risk of the harmful practice.
Female Genital Mutialtion(FMG) is a ritual that usually involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia, including the clitoris. Cutting is a rite of passage in many societies, often with the aim of promoting chastity.
It can cause chronic pain, menstrual problems, recurrent urinary tract infections, cysts and infertility. Some girls haemorrhage to death or die from infections. It can also cause fatal childbirth complications in later life.
Analysing data spanning more than 20 years, BMJ Global Health said in a study there was a “huge and significant decline” in FGM in children under 14 across Africa.
East Africa had the biggest fall in its prevalence rates, dropping to 8% in 2016 from 71% in 1995, according to the BMJ study.
In North Africa, prevalence rates fell to 14% in 2015 from nearly 60% in 1990, the report said; west Africa dropped to about 25% in 2017, from 74% in 1996.
The UNICEF has estimated that 200 million women globally have undergone FGM.FGM, with the highest prevalence in Africa and parts of the Middle East.
Campaigners welcomed the drop but said FGM also affects teenagers and young women, a demographic outside the study.