The Medicalization of FGM in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is widely recognized by the international community to pose serious risks to the health and wellbeing of girls and women, and numerous governments and global and national agencies have deemed it a human rights violation. Nevertheless, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM and a further 68 million are at risk of being cut by 2030.
Recently, scholars and practitioners have noted a growing trend towards the medicalization of FGM in many African settings. The term ‘medicalization’ is used to refer to the involvement of any kind of medical or health professional in the practice of FGM, whether at home, in a public or private clinic, or elsewhere.
UNFPA and UNICEF, among other agencies, have characterized medicalization as one of the greatest threats to the elimination of FGM.