Trends in the prevalence of female genital mutilation and its effect on delivery outcomes in the kassena-nankana district of northern ghana

Ghana Med J. 2006 Sep;40(3):87-92. doi: 10.4314/gmj.v40i3.55258.



Rational: Female genital mutilation (FGM) is prevalent in northern Ghana, as the practice is seen as a passage rite to women adulthood and thus undertaken just before marriage.

Objectives: We determined the changes in trend of FGM in deliveries at the Navrongo War Memorial hospital, and compared the outcomes and FGM status.

Design: Retrospective extraction and analysis of delivery data at the hospital from 1(st) January 1996 to 31(st) December 2003.

Results: Of the 5071 deliveries, about 29% (1466/5071) were associated with FGM. The highest prevalence (95% CI) of 61.5% (50.9, 71.2) was in women aged 40 years and above, and the lowest of 14.4% (11.7, 17.0) was in women below 20 years. The all-age prevalence of FGM showed a significant decline (p-value for linear trend < 0.01) from 35.2% in 1996 to 21.1% in 2003. About 6% (89/1466) of mothers with FGM had stillbirths compared with about 3% (123/3605) of mothers without FGM. Again FGM was associated with 8.2% (120/1466) caesarean section rate compared with 6.7% (241/3605) in mothers without FGM. Mean birth weight and frequency of low birth weights were not significantly associated with FGM status.

Conclusion: Although there is a high rate of FGM among mothers in the district and is associated with a higher proportion of stillbirths and caesarean sections, practice has shown a significant decline in the district in recent years due to the prevailing campaigns and intervention studies. There is therefore the need to sustain the ongoing intervention efforts.