Trends in female genital mutilation/cutting in Senegal: what can we learn from successive household surveys in sub-Saharan African countries?

Ngianga-bakwin Kandala, Bettina Shell-duncan

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Abstract

Over the last several decades, global efforts to end female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) have intensified through combined efforts of international and non-governmental organizations, governments, and religious and civil society groups. One question asked by donors, program implementers and observers alike is whether there is any evidence that FGM/C is declining. In the last two decades, reliable data have been generated in numerous countries through major household surveys, including repeat cross-sectional surveys. What can we learn from these data? We explore this question by analyzing data on FGM/C obtained from women aged 15–49 in two successive household surveys in Senegal (2005 and 2010–11). The aggregate national-level statistics suggest that there has been no significant change in the prevalence of FGM/C among adult women. These figures are, however, unadjusted for potentially confounding factors, and potentially mask important variation in the practice.

This paper aims to provide a deeper understanding of trends in FGM/C across regions, and possibly across generations, providing evidence as to when and where the practice of FGM/C is changing. We aim to answer the following questions: 1. What are the trends in FGM/C among women across Senegal and within regions? 2. Are individual characteristics, such as education, wealth and ethnicity, associated with a likelihood of FGM/C? 3. Are community-level factors, captured by covariate-adjusted geographic estimates, important predictors of a likelihood of FGM/C, as predicted by social convention theory?4. After adjusting for individual- and community-level factors, do we see a decrease in the prevalence of FGM/C across generations of women in Senegal?
Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2019

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