Background: Female Genital Cutting is a cultural practice among many ethnic groups in Ethiopia that has affected many girls over the past centuries. Although the trend is slowly decreasing in Ethiopia, the magnitude is still very high as the procedure has no known benefit but has many consequences. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence and belief in the continuation of FGC among High School Girls in Hadiya Zone.
Methods: A cross-sectional quantitative survey was carried out among high school girls in Hadiya Zone from January to February 2011. A multi-staged cluster sampling method was used for sample selection. In total, 780 girls completed a self-administered questionnaire for this study. Statistical analysis was done using bivariate and multivariate logistic regression.
Results: Of 780 high school girls, 82.2% were circumcised at a mean age of 11(±2.3) years. Half of the total participants responded that FGC was being practiced in their village. About 60% of the circumcisions were performed by traditional circumcisers while health professionals had performed 30% of them. A few of the circumcised girls (9.4%) supported their status as a circumcised girl, but only 5% believe in the continuation of FGC. The odds of being cut was higher among girls whose fathers and mothers had educational status under high school level (AOR = 2.04; 95% CI: 1.25, 3.09) and (AOR = 1.84; 95% CI: 1.01, 3.38) respectively when compared to those whose parents had attended high school and above. The odds of believing in the continuation of FGC was 2.33(95% CI: 1.01, 5.33) times higher among those who responded that FGC was practiced in their areas.
Conclusion: While there is an urgent need to stop the practice of FGC in Hadiya Zone, cultural beliefs related to the hygiene of female genitalia and other social factors contribute to sustaining the practice. Local organizations in collaboration with religious institutions and community leaders should work together to engage in a process of change within the entire community by arranging awareness creation programmes on the harmfulness of the practice especially in the rural areas of the zone.