Female genital cutting in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: changing attitudes?

Authors

  • Sia E. Msuya,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The National Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway,
    2. Department of International Health, Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway,
    3. Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Moshi, Tanzania
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  • Elizabeth Mbizvo,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The National Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway,
    2. Department of International Health, Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway,
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  • Akhtar Hussain,

    1. Department of International Health, Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway,
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  • Johanne Sundby,

    1. Department of International Health, Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway,
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  • Noel E. Sam,

    1. Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Moshi, Tanzania
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  • Babill Stray-Pedersen

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The National Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway,
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Dr Sia E. Msuya Department of International Health, University of Oslo, Postboks 1130, Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: siamsuya@hotmail.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVES To study the prevalence, type, social correlates and attitudes towards female genital cutting (FGC) among urban women in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; and to examine the association between FGC and gynaecological problems, reproductive tract infections (RTIs) and HIV.

METHODS In 1999, 379 women attending reproductive health care clinics were interviewed and underwent pelvic examination. Specimens for RTI/HIV diagnosis were taken.

RESULTS Seventeen per cent had undergone FGC, mostly clitoridectomy (97%). Female genital cutting prevalence was significantly lower among educated, Christian and Chagga women. Women aged ≥35 were twice as likely to be cut as those < 25 years. Seventy-six per cent of those who had undergone FGC intend not to perform the procedure on their daughters. Age < 25 years (P < 0.0001) and low parity (P < 0.01) were predictors of that intention. There was no association between RTIs, HIV or hepatitis B and FGC.

CONCLUSION FGC is still fairly common but there is evidence of a change of attitude towards the practice, especially among young women. The opportunity to educate women who attend reproductive health care facilities on FGC should be taken.

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