Objectives: To determine the prevalence and type of female genital mutilation (FGM) among female infants, reasons and attitude of the mothers to the practice.
Design: A cross sectional descriptive study.
Setting: Tertiary centre in Kano Northern Nigeria.
Method: A Pretested questionnaire was administered for mothers of female infants presenting for routine immunization in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH). A total of 250 questionnaires were administered, but only 200 were properly filled and this was used for the analysis.
Main outcome measures: Prevalence and type of FGM, reason for and attitude of mothers towards FGM.
Results: Twenty-six infants had FGM during the period of study, giving a prevalence rate of 13 %. The mean age at cutting was 8 days ± 7.3. The commonest type of FGM was type I accounting for 96.2 % of the cases. Tradition/culture was the commonest reason for mutilation accounting for 73.1 %, other reasons included; religious in 11.5 %, hygienic in 11.5 % and to preserve virginity in 3.8 %. Traditional barbers were the commonest operators in 80.8 % of cases, followed by the nurse/midwife in 15.4 % of cases. The fathers were the main decision makers in 46.2 %, followed by both parents in 26.9 % and grandparents in 15.4 % of the cases. 84 % of mothers were not in support of the practice. Thirteen percent of the clients would circumcise all their daughters. Forty-eight percent of the clients were of the opinion that FGM cause harm to the victims. Four percent of those whose daughters were yet to be circumcised will do so later.
Conclusion: Female genital cutting is still practiced in our environment. Educational enlightenment is fundamental in changing public opinion as well as in offering reasonable alternative to FGM. Campaign against the practice of FGM should be encouraged to eradicate its practice.