Background: Female genital cutting/mutilation (FGC/M) is deeply rooted and widely practiced in Sudan. Although the trend is slowly decreasing, the magnitude is still very high as the procedure has no known benefit but has many consequences. The aim of this study was to identify the causes and the risk factors associated with FGC/M among reproductive-age women in the country.
Methods: A community based cross-sectional survey was conducted among 902 women in the reproductive age (15-49) years in Khartoum State-Sudan, sampled proportionate to size using multistage clustering and participants were drawn using systematic probability sampling technique. Data were collected using a standardized administered questionnaire. Statistical analysis was done using bivariate and multivariate logistic regression.
Results: Among 902 women who participated in the study, 89% of were married and 48% of them got married for the first time at age less than 20 years. The commonest age for such practice was 6-7 years as stated by about 48% of them. There is a significant association between educational level of participants and practicing FGC/M among their daughters (P value=.0001) with a tendency of the participants who attained a higher educational levels to less subject their daughters to any form of FGC/M. There is a significant association between the type of FGC/M of participants and the type of FGC/M of their daughters (P value=.001) with a tendency of the participants’ daughters to be subjected to clitorectomy rather than pharaonic. 39% of the participants stated that they themselves influenced the decision to subject their daughters to FGC/M while 32% of them stated that the grandmothers influence such a decision. The study revealed 45% of the participants believed in customs and traditions as the main reason for the conduct of FGC/M.
Conclusion: The FGC/M was widely practiced by the participants’ families indicating the deeply rooted practice as a social norm. Parental education is inversely associated with practicing FGC/M to their daughters. The socio-cultural reason was the main cause of practicing FGC/M among participants. Therefore, a significant change in factors such as education, and social development might cause a gradual decline in FGC/M.