BACKGROUND: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a major harmful traditional practice that affects the health and well-being of women and girls. FGM is widespread across Ethiopia with a varying degree. Even though, there are various studies conducted on prevalence of FGM in Ethiopia, it has inconsistent findings. Therefore, this review was conducted to estimate the pooled prevalence of FGM among women and children and its regional variations in Ethiopia.
METHOD: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guideline was followed to review published and unpublished studies conducted in Ethiopia. The databases used were; PubMed, Google, Scholar, CINAHL an AJOL. Data were extracted using the Joanna Briggs Institute tool for prevalence studies. The meta-analysis was conducted using STATA version 14 software. The heterogeneity and publication bias was assessed using the I^2 statistics and Egger's test respectively. Descriptive information of studies was presented in narrative form and quantitative results were presented in forest plots. Random effects model was used to estimate the pooled prevalence of FGM with the corresponding 95% confidence interval.
RESULTS: A total of 25 studies were included in the analysis. Twenty articles included 44,283 participants and 14 articles with 38,230 participants to estimate the pooled prevalence of FGM among women and children less than 15 year respectively. The pooled prevalence of FGM among women and children aged less than 15 years in Ethiopia was 84.6% (95% CI: 80.51%, 88.7 %%) and 49.79% (95% CI: 41.91%, 57.68%) respectively. The highest prevalence of FGM among women was observed in Somali region (91.09 % (95 % CI: 85.75, 96.44)), and the lowest reported in Harari region (79.50% (95 % CI: 76.77, 82.23)). The highest prevalence of FGM among children less than 15 years was observed in South Nation Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) (82.20% (95 % CI: 79.52, 84.88)) and the lowest reported in Harari region (19% (95 % CI: 16.35, 21.65)).
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of FGM is high in Ethiopia with a wide variation was observed across regions. Attentions should be emphasized to end or reduce the practice, mainly at the high FGM clustered regions of Ethiopia.