Prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation and Its Effect on Women’s Health in Bale Zone, Ethiopia: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Prevalence of female genital mutilation and its effect on women’s health in Bale zone, Ethiopia: A cross-sectional study
Bogale, D., Markos, D., and Kaso, M.
BMC Public Health, 14:1076 (Oct., 2014).
Also available on the BioMed Central websiteFull Text (PDF): Prevalence of female genital mutilation and its effect on women’s health in Bale zone, Ethiopia_a cross-sectional study



Females’ genital mutilation (FGM) is one of the harmful traditional practices affecting the health of women and children. It has a long-term physiological, sexual and psychological effect on women. It remains still a serious problem for large proportion of women in most sub-Saharan Africa countries including Ethiopia.


A community based cross sectional study design which is supplemented by qualitative method was conducted in 2014. A total of 634 reproductive age women were involved in the quantitative part of the study. The respondents were drawn from five randomly selected districts of Bale zone. The total sample was allocated proportionally to each district based on the number of reproductive age women it has. Purposive sampling method was used for qualitative study. Then, data were collected using pre-tested and structured questionnaire. The collected data were analyzed by SPSS for windows version 16.0. Multiple logistic regressions were carried out to examine the existence of relationship between FGM and selected determinant factors. Variables significant in the bivariate analysis were then entered into a multiple logistic regression analysis.


In this study, 486 (78.5%) of women had undergone some form of FGM with 75% lower and 82% upper confidence interval. To get married, to get social acceptance, to safeguard virginity, to suppress sexual desire and religious recommendations were the main reasons of FGM. The reported immediate complications were excessive bleeding at the time of the procedure, infection, urine retention and swelling of genital organ. Muslim women and women from rural areas were significantly more likely to have undergone the procedure. In addition to these, compared to women 15–20 years old older women were more likely to report themselves having undergone FGM.


Although younger women, those from urban residence and some religions are less likely to have had FGM it is still extremely common in this zone. Deep cultural issues and strongly personally held beliefs which are not simple to predict or quantify are likely to be involved in the perpetuation of FGM. Efforts to eradicate the practice should incorporate a human rights approach rather than rely solely on the damaging health consequences.