Perception and attitude of pregnant women in a rural community north-west Nigeria to female genital mutilation

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2014 Sep 21. [Epub ahead of print]

Perception and attitude of pregnant women in a rural community north-west Nigeria to female genital mutilation.

Ashimi AO, Amole TG.


PURPOSE: Nigeria has the highest absolute number of residents who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) and most are carried out during infancy; however most reports on FGM are from urban based facilities hence we sought to know the perception and attitude of pregnant women residing in a rural community in northern Nigeria to FGM.

METHODS: A descriptive cross sectional study utilized a pretested structured interviewer administered questionnaire to assess the types of FGM known, reasons for performing it and willingness to support or perform FGM among 323 pregnant women attending antenatal care in two different health facilities.

RESULTS: Of the 323 respondents, 256 (79.3 %) were aware of the practice and the common varieties of FGM known to them were Gishiri cut in 137 (53.5 %) and Angurya cut 113 (44.1). The notable reasons for carrying out FGM in the community were tradition 88 (34.4 %), to ease difficulty in childbirth 69 (26.9 %) and better marriage prospect in 55 (21.5 %). Of the respondents that were aware of FGM; 100 (39.1 %) have experienced it and 55 (21.5 %) of those aware of it would subject their daughters to the procedure. There was statistically significant association between willingness to mutilate daughters by the respondents type of education (p = 0.014) and the type of facility they were receiving antenatal care (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSION: FGM is prevalent in this community with Gishiri cut being the commonest variety. It is often associated with difficult childbirth and many women would subject their daughters to this practice. Female education and empowerment is crucial to discontinuation of this practice.

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