Health Impact of Vaginal Practices in Mozambique
Brigitte Bagnol, Independent Researcher
Esmeralda Mariano, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane
This article discusses findings which are part of the “WHO’s Multi-Country Study on Gender, Sexuality and Vaginal Practices” carried out in Asia and Africa. A total of 103 people, mainly women, more than eighteen years of age (38 individual interviewees, 15 focus groups) were interviewed in Mozambique. The most common practices may be classified and described as follows, in order from highest to lowest frequency: elongation of the labia, insertion and use of vaginal products, daily vaginal washing with a range of products, cutting of the pubic hair, ingestion of sexual stimulants and ingestion of potions in order to stimulate dilation of the cervix of the uterus prior to birth. These practices have an influence on people’s preference for having sex without use of a condom. The practices may both create lesions as such, and may, through alteration of the vaginal flora, create favourable conditions for transmission of sexual infections.