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    Circumcision in women [editorial]

    Ruminjo J

    East African Medical Journal. 1992 Sep; 69(9):477-8.

    Female circumcision detracts from physical, emotional, and social health in Africa were more than 2 hundred million women and girls have been subjected to it. Female circumcision is performed in infancy among the Yoruba of Western Nigeria, close to puberty among some Kikuyu of Kenya, and even later in some Western African tribes. Milder procedures are commonly encountered in Africa including Kenya, but in Somalia and Sudan infibulation is the circumcision of choice. Vaginal examination is impossible in such women. The resultant genital mutilation and complications include shock from hemorrhage and pain and injury to adjacent structures. Local infection is common and may be accompanied by recurrent urinary tract infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, septicemia, tetanus, and possibly transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus. Long term complications of infibulation include poor urine flow and cysts. Acquired gynatresia may result in hematocolpos, dyspareunia, and even apareunia with associated infertility. Circumcising women in a health facility with anesthesia and antibiotics serves to institutionalize circumcision of women and to introduce a monetary incentive. UN Commission on Human Rights has focused on the issue of human dignity and freedom from degradation that is the right of every female. An Inter-Africa Committee on Traditional practices affecting the health of women and children was formed following a 1979 WHO seminar held in Sudan. Legal decrees and presidential censure in Kenya and Senegal have played a limited role in halting this practice, as have youth organizations. Christian evangelization has made a major impact in Kenya with support for the education of women.
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