Medicalization of Female Genital Cutting in Sapele Local Government Area, Delta State, Nigeria: The Implication for Health Care Provision in Nigeria
Background: Female genital cutting (FGC) affects over 200 million girls and women globally. It is inimical to health and increasingly being performed by healthcare providers. Medicalization of FGC is proposed by its proponents to reduce and prevent the incidence of its complications and though perceived to be safer, it is unethical and unjustifiable. This study assessed medicalization of FGC in Sapele Local Government Area, Delta State and made recommendations geared towards ending its practice.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among reproductive age women (15 – 44 years) selected using multi-stage sampling. Pre-tested structured questionnaire was used to obtain quantitative data from 502 women while a focus group discussion guide was used to obtain qualitative data. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 and by themes. Results were presented as tables and narratives.
Results: Prevalence of FGC was 277 (55.2%), of which 223 (80.5%) were medicalized. The mean age of cutting was 16.8 ± 5.46 years and nurses performed majority 220 (79.4%) of them. Few 44 (8.8%) of the respondents were aware of possible complications of FGC. Qualitative findings indicated that FGC is still being practiced with nurses being reported as major practitioners.
Conclusion: Despite concerted efforts to eliminate FGC, its practice is still propagated with increasing heath workers as practitioners. Advocacy and health education for women and girls as well as training and retraining of health care providers is imperative to check this trend.