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n South African Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology - Female genital mutilation/cutting : knowledge, practice and experiences of secondary schoolteachers in North Central Nigeria : research
Background. Despite global efforts at eradicating female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), the act continues to be performed globally.
Objective. To determine the experience of schoolteachers about FGM/C and their possible role in contributing to its eradication.
Methods. A prospective cross-sectional survey involving secondary schoolteachers from 18 secondary schools in Ilorin, North Central Nigeria, was undertaken during October and November 2014. All consenting participants completed a self-administered questionnaire on FGM/C. Statistical analysis was with SPSS version 20.0 with χ2 and logistic regression; a p-value of < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results. There were 371 participants (113 males (30.5%) and 258 females (69.5%)). More females than males were aware of FGM/C (205 v. 94; χ2 41.2; p=0.001); 180 women (69.8%) and 81 men (71.7%) wanted awareness and the implications of FGM/C to be taught in schools, while 46 women (17.8%) and 23 men (20.4%) had previously educated students about FGM/C. Also, 109 (42.3%) of the female teachers had been mutilated (mean (standard deviation) age 4.76 (4.86) years), and 49 mutilations (45.0%) had been performed by traditional circumcisers. Of the teachers, 44.0% of men and 24.5% of women had subjected their daughters to FGM/C (p=0.029), mostly for religious reasons. The men initiated the majority of their daughters' mutilations, while the mothers-in-law were the main initiators among the women; 44 (17.0%) women and 23 (20.4%) men held the opinion that females should be circumcised, while the majority considered education and legislation to be the most important interventions to encourage its eradication. Predictors of the likelihood to support discontinuation of FGM/C include awareness of government policy about FGM/C and having a mutilated daughter.
Conclusion. Education, reorientation and motivation of teachers will position them as agents for eradicating FGM/C.
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