Published by: BMC Women's Health
Year published: 2023

Background To harmonize and enhance economic growth at the individual, family, community, and national levels, healthy women embody the guardian of family health and a healthy world. They are anticipated to have the freedom to choose their identity in opposition to female genital mutilation in a thoughtful, responsible, and informed manner. Despite restrictive traditions and culture, it is unclear from the available information what exactly would be the drivers of FGM practices in Tanzania from an individual or social perspective. The purpose of this study was to evaluate female genital mutilation among women of reproductive age in terms of its frequency, knowledge, attitudes, and purposeful practice.

Methods Three hundred twenty-four randomly selected Tanzanian women of reproductive age were studied using a community-based analytical cross-sectional study design quantitatively. Structured questionnaires from earlier studies that were delivered by interviewers were utilized to gather information from the study participants. The statistical software package Statistical Packages for Social Science was used to examine the data. (SPSS v.23). A 5% significance threshold was used with a 95% confidence interval.

Result A total of 324 women of reproductive age participated in the study with a 100% response rate with a mean age of 25 +/- 7.481 years. Findings revealed that 81.8% ( n = 265) of study participants were mutilated. 85.6% ( n = 277) of women had inadequate knowledge about FGM, and 75.9% ( n = 246) had a negative attitude toward it. However, 68.8% ( n = 223) of them were willing to practice FGM. Their age (36-49 years) (AOR=2.053; p < 0.014; 95%CI: 0.704, 4.325), single women (AOR=2.443; p < 0.029; 95%CI: 1.376, 4.572), never go to school (AOR = 2.042; p < 0.011; 95%CI: 1.726, 4.937), housewives (AOR = 1.236; p < 0.012; 95%CI: 0.583, 3.826), extended family (AOR = 1.436; p < 0.015; 95%CI: 0.762, 3.658), inadequate knowledge (AOR = 2.041; p < 0.038; 95%CI: 0.734, 4.358) and negative attitude (AOR = 2.241; p < 0.042;95%CI: 1.008, 4.503) were significantly associated to practice female genital mutilation.

Conclusion The study observed that the rate of female genital mutilation was significantly high and still, women demonstrated the intention to continue practicing it. However, their sociodemographic characteristic profiles, inadequate knowledge, and negative attitude towards FGM were significantly linked with the prevalence. The private agencies, local organizations, the Ministry of Health, and community health workers are alerted to the findings of the current study to design and develop interventions and awareness-raising campaigns for women of reproductive age against female genital mutilation.