Knowledge, attitudes and practices of female genital mutilation among health care workers in Somali region of Ethiopia
Keywords:Female genital mutilation, Health workers, Knowledge, Attitude, Practice
Background: Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a global challenge with estimated over two hundred million girls and women worldwide having undergone the procedure and another three million girls are at risk of being cut yearly. The prevalence of FGM among women and girls aged 15-49 years in Somali region of Ethiopia is 99% compared to the national average of 65%. The study assessed the knowledge, attitude, and practice of health care workers on FGM practices in the region.
Methods: The study was a cross-sectional descriptive survey and used quantitative method.
Results: 36 (17.8%) of the health workers believed FGM was a mandatory religious practice, while 158 (78.2%) regarded it as a cultural practice. All the respondents knew it caused health problems, 32 (15.8%) believed it was a good practice though 176 (87.1%) of the respondents believed it violated human rights of the girls/women and 99 (49%) wanted the practice to continue. 15 (40.5%) had conducted FGM on a girl before, 5 (13.5%) claimed medicalization made FGM practice safer and 5 (13.5%) of the respondents intended to circumcise their daughters in future.
Conclusions: Health care workers still have attitudes and practices that positively promote and could encourage FGM practices in spite of their knowledge of the health consequences and their acceptance as a violation of the rights of women and girls. This attitude has high tendencies of depriving the community members of access to accurate information that will enable them to make informed decision about FGM and efforts to eradicate the practice.
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