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FGM healthcare costs set to almost double by 2047

18 March 2022

The economic burden of female genital mutilation (FGM) to healthcare is projected to increase to $2.1bn/year by 2047 if no action is taken to prevent it.

A study published in BMJ Global Health found that, assuming no change in practices occurs, prevalent cases in 27 countries will rise from 119.4 million in 2018 to 205.8 million in 2047 because of population growth. The current economic burden is placed at $1.4bn/year. However, fully eliminating FGM worldwide would reduce future costs to $0.8bn/year by 2047, according to researchers.

FGM involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia, or other injury, for non-medical purposes. It is usually practised on young girls without their consent and is estimated to affect 200 million women and girls. Immediate health risks include haemorrhage, shock, extreme pain, genital swelling, infections, urinary complications and problems with wound healing. Longer-term consequences can include obstetric and gynaecological complications, sexual dysfunction and psychological harm.

The researchers concluded that increased political commitment and investment in the elimination of FGM is needed.

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