Health consequences of female genital mutilation/cutting in the Gambia, evidence into action

Adriana Kaplan, Suiberto Hechavarría, Miguel Martín, Isabelle Bonhoure

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63 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is a harmful traditional practice with severe health complications, deeply rooted in many Sub-Saharan African countries. In The Gambia, the prevalence of FGM/C is 78.3% in women aged between 15 and 49 years. The objective of this study is to perform a first evaluation of the magnitude of the health consequences of FGM/C in The Gambia. Methods. Data were collected on types of FGM/C and health consequences of each type of FGM/C from 871 female patients who consulted for any problem requiring a medical gynaecologic examination and who had undergone FGM/C in The Gambia. Results: The prevalence of patients with different types of FGM/C were: type I, 66.2%; type II, 26.3%; and type III, 7.5%. Complications due to FGM/C were found in 299 of the 871 patients (34.3%). Even type I, the form of FGM/C of least anatomical extent, presented complications in 1 of 5 girls and women examined. Conclusion: This study shows that FGM/C is still practiced in all the six regions of The Gambia, the most common form being type I, followed by type II. All forms of FGM/C, including type I, produce significantly high percentages of complications, especially infections. © 2011 Kaplan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalReproductive Health
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2011


  • Africa
  • Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
  • Gambia
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health


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