Social aspects of family and reproductive health programme including harmful traditional practices.


In order to continue to eliminate harmful traditional practices, especially female genital mutilation, a wide range of technical support to several countries and institutions has been provided by WHO.

Female genital mutilation, which involves partial or total removal of the female external genitalia by cutting, burning or scraping, is inflicted on more than 2 million girls between the ages of 4 and 12 years. It is estimated that about 12 million girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years have had sequels of female genital mutilation.

A specific form of intentional injury to female children, female genital mutilation (i.e. forcible removal of part or all of the external female genitalia), continues to be practised in many countries in the African Region. Children who have this done to them are at risk of death from acute bacterial infection or haemorrhage and are at greater risk of contracting HIV.

They are left with lifelong pain, severe psychological trauma from the experience, urinary problems, and are at greater risk of complications during childbirth. Recent research into community reasons for continuing this practice, defined as a form of physical child abuse, indicate that male community members believe that it is women who want to continue the practice, while women agree to it because they believe it is a prerequisite for marriage.