MORE than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where female genital mutilation (FGM) is concentrated.
FGM includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
In the analysis of 30 countries, published earlier in the year to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, statistics showed women in Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia account for half of all FGM victims worldwide.
Somalia has the highest prevalence of women and girls who have been cut – 98% of the female population between the ages of 15 and 49.
Though in real terms numbers are still rising, largely due to population growth, UNICEF sees an optimistic picture in some countries, with FGM prevalence rates declining by 41% in Liberia, 31% in Burkina Faso, 30% in Kenya and 27% in Egypt over the last 30 years.
However, based on the latest data from Kenya, the country is claiming the highest drop in national FGM prevalence rates recorded in the world. The chart above dramatically illustrates the drop.