Key Findings

The prevalence of FGM in women aged 15-49 is 86.6%.

52.8% of women aged 15-49 who have heard of FGM believe it should be discontinued.

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The states with the highest prevalence are in the north-west; North Kordofan is the highest at 97.7%


The majority of women were cut between the ages of 5 & 9


Type III (sewn closed) is the most common type of FGM practised


More than ¾ of FGM cases are carried out by nurses, midwives or other medical personnel

Development Indicators


41,945,377 (as at 26 June 2017), with a 1.69% growth rate (2016 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

48 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015)

Maternal Mortality Rate

311 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)


75.9% of the total population aged 15 and over can read/write

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

The states in Sudan with the highest FGM prevalence are in the north-west:  North Kordofan (97.7% of women aged 15-49), North Darfur (97.6%) and Northern (97.5%).  The state with the lowest prevalence is Central Darfur, in the south-west, at 45.4%.  Women aged 15-49 who live in rural areas are slightly more likely to undergo FGM (87.2%) than those who live in urban areas (85.5%).  

FGM is least prevalent among women aged 14-59 with ‘no education’, at 76.8%.

52.8% of women aged 15-49 who have heard of FGM believe it should be discontinued.

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Breaking down the most recent data by age group shows that the prevalence for women aged 45-49 is 91.8%, while for the youngest age group this has fallen to 81.7%.  Despite the fact that a small proportion of women may be cut after the age of 15, the data suggests a trend towards lower prevalences among younger women.

FGM Legislation in Sudan

There is currently no national law against FGM covering the whole of Sudan.  Four states have attempted to address FGM:

– South Kordofan: The Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation Act (2008) protects girls up to 18 years of age;

– South Darfur: Article 11 of the Child Law 2013 prohibits all forms of FGM;

– Gadaref:  Article 13 of the Child Law 2009 prohibits all harmful traditional practices, including FGM;

– Red Sea: Article 10 of the Child Law 2011, prohibiting Type III FGM, is yet to be fully enacted by the State Minister of Health.

Implementation and enforcement of these state laws is weak, and there is no protection from the increasing medicalisation of FGM in Sudan.  It is also reported that an agreement exists with religious and traditional leaders in each of these states to allow sunna cuts, which are usually Type I FGM, but not Type II.

See Sudan: The Law and FGM for more detail.


Research and resources for Sudan