Utilization of the potential of antenatal care as a strategy for the prevention of female genital mutilation and its complications at garissa level 5 hospital in 2015.
BACKGROUND About 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation. In North Eastern Kenya, 98% of women have undergone FGM. FGM causes a wide range of immediate, long-term and obstetric complications thus increasing both maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Antenatal care provides an ideal opportunity for health workers to play a role in the prevention of FGM and its complications. BROAD OBJECTIVE The main objective of the study was to evaluate the utilization of the potential of antenatal care as a strategy for the prevention of female genital mutilation and its complications at Garissa Level 5 Hospital. METHODS This was a descriptive cross sectional study conducted at Garissa Level 5 Hospital among 311 postnatal mothers who had received antenatal care. Data was collected using a structured research assistant administered questionnaire. Data entry and analysis was carried out using SPSS Version 20. Data was presented in tables and pie charts. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: Majority of women 83.6% reported to have undergone FGM. There was high level of ANC attendance with 85.9% making at least 2 antenatal visits although the provision of FGM related information during the antenatal period was low at 11.9%. Antenatal birth preparedness was low with only 4.2% of those who had undergone FGM, being asked about their FGM status, 5.7% being examined and de-infibulation offered to 7.2%. Complication readiness was low with 10.7% of women who had undergone FGM being informed of birth complications. Of those who had undergone FGM, only 14.1% would undergo FGM again if they were to choose while 60% would choose a lesser form of FGM. Up to 68.3% women were willing to receive FGM related health information from health workers with health education being the most preferred at 33.4%. CONCLUSION The utilization of the potential of antenatal care as a strategy to prevent FGM and its complications was low despite the existence of a high potential for receptivity of information RECOMMENDATION: Strengthening of the health sector response towards prevention of FGM and its complications is essential so as to utilize the existing hiatus with a need to focus on communication of complications of FGM so that the community is more aware of the atrocities.