A file photo of a counsellor in Egypt holds up cards used to educate women about female genital mutilation (FGM) in Minia in this photo from 2006 (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's Health Ministry said on Sunday that the rate of the female genital mutilation (FGM) among teenage girls from 15 to 17 years old fell from 74 percent in 2008 to 61 percent in 2014.
According to the statement, issued by the National Population Council on behalf of the ministry, as part of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, FGM among teenage girls fell 13 percent in six years due to government policies, new laws and raised awareness.
The Egyptian government criminalised FGM in 2008. In 2016, the House of Representatives passed amendments in the law criminalising FGM, designating the practice a felony and mandating stricter punishments for those convicted of performing the procedure.
A 2014 demographic and health survey showed that the FGM rate among females aged 15-49 in Egypt stood at 92 percent. More than 75 percent of cases were of girls aged nine to 12, while 14 percent were aged seven or younger.
Nevertheless, the ministry statement highlighted that the 2014 survey showed a decline in the FGM practice in the countryside, compared to past surveys in 2005 and 1998.
The first FGM conviction was in January 2015, seven years after the practice was criminalised, when a father and a doctor were convicted of the death of a 13-year-old girl who died during an FGM operation.
Others were prosecuted in similar cases later.
The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nations annual awareness day that has been taking place on 6 February since 2003.