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East Afr Med J. 1998 Jun;75(6):374-6.

Female circumcision and determinants in southern Nigeria.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.


One hundred and ninety two postnatal women and ninety five newly born baby girls were prospectively investigated at the six weeks postnatal clinic of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria between January 1, 1996 and April 30, 1996. Circumcision was clinically verified in 65% of the mothers and in 38% of the baby girls. The decision to circumcise the babies was taken in over 90% of cases by husbands even though this was opposed by wives in 19% of cases. Significantly more circumcised than uncircumcised baby girls had circumcised mothers (P < 0.01) and maternal low educational status was significantly related (P < 0.01) to the tendency to circumcise the babies. There was lack of antenatal counselling of most mothers. It is concluded that while the incidence of female circumcision may be declining, attention needs to be focused on proper community enlightenment as well as the role of the male in the decision to circumcise daughters.

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