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Global Health
March 21, 2012

Ending Female Genital Mutilation

JAMA. 2012;307(11):1129. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.297

Nearly 2000 communities across Africa renounced female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) last year, pushing the number of communities that have abandoned the practice to 8000, according to a report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF (http://tinyurl.com/886wugu).

Recognized globally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, FGM/C involves cutting away all or part of a young girl's genitalia. It is conducted as a coming-of-age ritual across Africa and in some Asian and Middle Eastern countries and is presumed to ensure chastity. But it causes severe pain, has no health benefits, and can have immediate and long-term adverse health effects. Between 130 million and 140 million girls and women have undergone this mutilation, and each year 3 million more are at risk of being subjected to it.