Published by: BMC Public Health
Year published: 2020

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a serious health problem globally with various health, social and psychological consequences for women. In Ethiopia, the prevalence of female genital mutilation varied across different regions of the country. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the trend and determinants of female genital mutilation among reproductive-age women over time.

A secondary data analysis was done using 2000, 2005, and 2016 Demographic Health Surveys (DHSs) of Ethiopia. A total weighted sample of 36,685 reproductive-age women was included for analysis from these three EDHS Surveys. Logit based multivariate decomposition analysis was employed for identifying factors contributing to the decrease in FGM over time. The Bernoulli model was fitted using spatial scan statistics version 9.6 to identify hotspot areas of FGM, and ArcGIS version 10.6 was applied to explore the spatial distribution FGM across the country.

The trends of FGM practice has been decreased from 79.9% in 2000 to 70.4% in 2016 with an annual reduction rate of 0.8%. The multivariate decomposition analysis revealed that about 95% of the overall decrease in FGM practice from 2000 to 2016 was due to the difference in the effects of women’s characteristics between the surveys. The difference in the effects of residence, religion, occupation, education, and media exposure were significant predictors that contributed to the decrease in FGM over time. The spatial distribution of FGM showed variation across the country. The SaTScan analysis identified significant hotspot areas of FGM in Somali, Harari, and Afar regions consistently over the three surveys.

Female genital mutilation practice has shown a remarkable decrease over time in Ethiopia. Public health programs targeting rural, non-educated, unemployed, and those women with no access to media would be helpful to maintain the decreasing trend of FGM practice. The significant Spatio-temporal clustering of FGM was observed across regions in Ethiopia. Public health interventions must target the identified clusters as well.