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Int J Epidemiol. 1983 Jun;12(2):138-44.

Attitudes of Sudanese people to the practice of female circumcision.


This article aims to determine social, religious and traditional attitudes towards the practice of female circumcision and hence to suggested methods for its abolition. A population of 3210 females and 1545 males was chosen by multi-stage random sampling from Northern Sudan. The study was carried out by means of detailed questionnaires. The results showed that the community is still in favour of the continuation of the practice of circumcision. Almost five times as many women and seven times as many men approved of its continuation than opposed it. However, even the majority of those approving circumcision were against the most severe, Pharaonic type. Those who were against circumcision tended to be better educated and/or younger, suggesting that younger generations are initiating a change of attitude in the community. Those respondents who rejected circumcision generally agreed that, because of its multi-factorial nature, a multidisciplinary approach should be used to initiate change; all possible methods should be integrated for the maximum effect. It is thought that educated and influential people should set an example by abandoning circumcision in their own families. Better health education might also be effective because the practice of circumcision is maintained by fear of criticism and ignorance of the after-effects.

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