Female Genital Cutting: Its Perception and Practice in Igbo-Ora community, Nigeria
Authors: Daniel Adedayo Adeyinka, Olanrewaju Oladimeji and Chris Aimakhu
Abstract: Female genital cutting (FGC) or female circumcision is a human right violation that prevents girls from enjoying optimal health and maturation. Despite international agreements, it is still common worldwide and affects millions especially in the developing countries. Objective. To assess the knowledge, prevalence, practice and attitudes to FGC and its health implication in Igbo-Ora Community. Methods. A survey was conducted among 280 people above the age 18 years in Igbo-Ora town using a multi-staged sampling technique with an appropriate interviewer administered semi-structured questionnaire. Results. More than 78.7% girls and women in Igbo-Ora had undergone FGC. Despite high awareness (97.5%), only a few (30.7%) knew about the health consequences. It was practiced by people from all social classes and women with more education were less likely to practice FGC. There was strong adherence to tradition and beliefs and the patriarchal nature of the society as many disapproved its abolition especially people of younger age group (58.1%) with more men than women. More practiced among Muslims, 63.8%. The traditional doctors did not have health training, use anesthesia or sterilize the circumcision instruments. A majority (84.8%) had no knowledge about the enacted legislation regarding FGC in Nigeria. Conclusion. This suggests that the younger generations may have lesser access to FGC information and are more influenced by tradition. Hence, efforts to end it require understanding and changing their beliefs. Focusing largely on gathering information and speaking out about FGC at international, regional and national levels is critical in encouraging its abandonment.