A statistical study to estimate the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) among women in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil, revealed a rate of 70.3% (self-reported), respectively 58.6% based on clinical examinations. These results match quite accurately with Wadi’s findings published in its comprehensive 2009 survey. Wadi found 63% of the women in Erbil governorate affected.
The newly published study was carried out in the delivery rooms of the Maternity Teaching Hospital and the maternal care units of 14 primary health care centers between 2007 and 2009. It was produced by medical professionals in cooperation with the General Directorate of Health.
According to the study, most perpetrators justified the practice with references to the cultural tradition while another large part prefered to describe it as a religious obligation. Wadi came to similar results.
However, although both studies were produced during the same period of time, they differ much in the proportion of FGM supporters. While Wadi identified a mere 3.4%, the newly issued study found that more than one third supported the practice and would mutilate their daughters.
Another alarming result is that only 30% of the interviewed women knew about the negative health consequences of FGM.