“We don’t have any indications that it’s taking place in Sweden,” Malin Ahrne, one of the report’s authors, told The Local. “A lot of the immigrants from these countries are actually opposed to continuing this tradition.”
Female Genital Mutilation, which involves the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia, is traditional in several countries in Africa and the Middle East, with an estimated 98 percent of Somali women suffering from the practice.
Sweden's report on FGM, which was commissioned in late 2013, will contain the National Board of Health and Welfare's first attempt to quantify roughly how many women in Sweden are affected.
"We needed to know the magnitude of the problem, if it's really an issue for the healthcare system," Ahrne said. "Do we need training? Do we need to develop a new curriculum?."
In the past the Board has refused to give any estimates, reporting only that there were roughly 40,000 women from high-risk countries living in Sweden.
The new report comes as a new World Health Organisation (WHO) code classifying genital issues becomes valid in Sweden, making it easier to draw together statistics on FGM’s prevalence.
“There is already a code in this classification system which is used today but that code is used for other types of injuries and diseases which affect genitalia, such as cancer,” Ahrne said.
The new code, which is part of the WHO’s ICD-10 diagnostic system, is designed to make it easier to draw together data from patient registries and other systems to give a more accurate picture of FGM’s prevalence in Sweden.
But National Board of Health and Welfare has said that compulsory gynaecological checks for women from high-risk countries (a move suggested by FGM campaigners last year), would be counter-productive.
“We think it is probably not effective as a prevention measure,” she said. “You would have to do it repeatedly. If you do it once, then someone could just wait for a month after, and do it then. We think dialogue is the best measure.”