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Female genital cutting starts to decline among women in Oromia, Ethiopia.

Reprod Biomed Online. 2010 Jun;20(7):867-72. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2010.01.009. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

Female genital cutting starts to decline among women in Oromia, Ethiopia.

Rahlenbeck S, Mekonnen W, Melkamu Y.

Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. rahlenbeck@hotmail.com

ABSTRACT

The study explored factors influencing attitudes towards the practice of female genital cutting (FGC) among women in Oromia region, Ethiopia. Representative data from 2221 women aged 15-49 years from the Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey in 2005 were evaluated. Overall, 88.4% of women had undergone FGC. Prevalence significantly decreased with birth date, ranging from 95.1% in women aged 45-49 years to 75.8% in those aged 15-19 years. Overall, 63.7% of women favoured the discontinuation of FGC, while 29.7% favoured its continuation. Education was strongly correlated with a stance against the practice: while only 54.6% of illiterate women were against it, this figure was 95.5% among women who had completed secondary school. While the reported prevalence was similar among Christian (87.8%) and Islamic women (89.1%), 56.3% of Islamic women favoured discontinuation compared with 70.5% of Christian women. The higher that women scored on empowerment indices, the more they opposed the practice. In logistic regression models, educational level (P=0.001), personal FGC experience (P=0.001), religious affiliation (P=0.02) and self-empowerment were factors (P=0.01 and P=0.004) significantly associated with favouring discontinuation. Future efforts encouraging an end to FGC must include the illiterate population in the Oromia region and focus on improving the status of women.

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