Despite the emergence of international consensus that female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a violation of human rights, a focus on medicalization remains salient because of concerns that FGM/C is increasingly being performed by healthcare professionals and may be impeding progress toward abandonment of FGM/C. To investigate these claims, this study draws on nationally representative survey data from 26 countries, and addresses the following three questions: 1) What are the major patterns and trends in medicalisation? 2) Is there an association between medicalization and rates of change in prevalence of FGM/C? and 3) Is there an association between medicalization and support for the continuation of the practice? Successive survey data show that rising medicalization rates are found in countries where FGM/C rates are steady (Sudan) or dropping (Egypt and Kenya), but overall across countries, there is no correlation between medicalization rates among daughters and rates of decline in FGM/C. National-level figures may mask important locally divergent factors influencing medicalization and obscure subregional associations, hence, further focused research is needed to explore this issue.
Shell-Duncan, Bettina, Carolyne Njue, and Zhuzhi Moore. 2018. "Trends in medicalisation of female genital mutilation/cutting: What do the data reveal?" Evidence to End FGM/C: Research to Help Women Thrive. New York: Population Council.
A Research Agenda to End Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in a Generation; Evidence to End FGM/C: Research to Help Girls and Women Thrive