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Lancet. 2000 Jul 8;356(9224):137-8.

Female genital mutilation in eastern Ethiopia.


In Ethiopians at large, women and men are caught in a vicious circle of erroneous expectations and a mute consensus that maintains female genital mutilation (FGM). We have shown clear signs of erosion of this practice and the potential for further influence and change.


This paper examines the incidence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Harrar, eastern Ethiopia. The researchers studied three ethnic groups (Adere, Oromo and Amhara) using focus group interviews. A total of 24 women were interviewed, 8 from each ethnic group, at two hospitals in Harrar. The predominant types of FGM are clitoridectomy and excision, but infibulation is also practiced by some ethnic groups in the southeast. It is shown that the Adere and the Oromo perform FGM on women aged 4 years to puberty, while the Amhara perform it on the 8th day following birth. Both the Adere and Oromo practice infibulation, and the Amhara practice excision and clitoridectomy. Although the practice of FGM is widespread, signs of change of the practice are evident. However, these signs do not mean that the FGM problem is solved. All efforts must continue until the total global abolition of FGM is achieved.

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