Year published: 2018

Abakaliki, South-East a of [7] study that it occurred in 48.5% of pregnant antenatal clinics. [8] A study a prevalence of 34%, indicating a downward trend. [9] The wide acceptance of the practice is anchored on reasons that across religious to socio-cultural explanations. of the need to conform to societal norms, gender identity, acceptability for marriage, social acceptance, preservation of virginity, suppression of sexual desires, deep cultural inclinations fulfillment of religious recommendations. Studies have shown that despite wide condemnation of FGM, the practice has continued. [7,11] Any attempt at eradication must involve identification of the issues sustaining the practice. [8] This study was carried out to document the prevalence of female genital cutting among women seeking care at the National Obstetric Fistula

ABSTRACT Context: Female genital mutilation (FGM) is characterized by serious medical and psychosocial problems. Despite the consequences and widespread condemnation, the practice has continued to thrive.

Objective: This study was carried out to document the prevalence of FGM among women seeking care at the National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki, Nigeria and their perceptions about the practice.

Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study carried out among 412 women who had surgery at the National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki. Information on sociodemographic characteristics, history of circumcision, time of circumcision and opinion about circumcision was obtained from the women. The information was transferred into a proforma. Data was analysed using the SPSS version 21and presented in tables.

RESULTS: A total of 412 women were studied. The mean age of the women was 51.8+10.3 years. About one-third of the women were aged 50-59 years while 81.3% were grandmultiparous. About 90% of the women were farmers and 50% were married. One hundred and thirty-seven (33.3%) were sexually active and 300 (72.8%) had stopped menstruating. Majority (91.5%) were circumcised. Over half (54.4%) were circumcised in childhood, 29.9% in adolescence, 10.9% before marriage and 4.9% after marriage. Most of them (78.6%) believed the practice was bad and 88.3% desired it should be stopped.

Conclusion: FGM is still common in our environment. Over half of the procedures are done in childhood. Majority of the women affected believe the practice is bad and should be stopped. Education at all levels is needed to eradicate it.