Mothers' perceptions of female genital mutilation.


The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is widespread in Nigeria. This study was conducted to assess the perceptions of FGM among mothers at a primary healthcare centre in Lagos, Nigeria. A convenience sample of 95 mothers completed the pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaires. Data analysis was carried out using descriptive statistics and a chi-square test was used to test for association between variables. Findings showed that the mothers held ambivalent beliefs about the practice. Although over half of the respondents (56.8%) perceived the practice of FGM as not being beneficial, 44.2% thought that uncircumcised girls will become promiscuous. Nearly a third (30.5%) believed that FGM promotes a woman's faithfulness to her husband. About a quarter (26.3%) reported that women who have undergone FGM are not at any risk of gynaecological complications. There was a significant relationship between the educational background of the mothers and the perception that uncircumcised girls will be promiscuous. These perceptions about FGM show that government at all levels should continue with educational efforts aimed at eradicating this practice.

DOI: 10.1093/her/cyt118