Knowledge of female genital mutilation among healthcare professionals.

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2007 Feb;27(2):161-4.

Knowledge of female genital mutilation among healthcare professionals.

Zaidi N, Khalil A, Roberts C, Browne M.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Manor Hospital Walsall NHS Trust, Walsall, UK.


The World Health Organisation estimates that 2 million women undergo some form of female genital mutilation (FGM) annually. Because of increasing migration, clinicians in the UK are increasingly exposed to women who have suffered FGM. Recognising this trend, the RCOG has set standards for guidance of health professionals caring for women with FGM. As yet, no study has assessed levels of knowledge of FGM among relevant health professionals. An anonymous structured questionnaire based on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ standards was circulated among staff at a University Teaching Hospital. A total of 45 participants completed the questionnaire. Only 40% were familiar with the regulations in the FGM Act of 2003; 58% were unable to list the different categories of FGM; 47% incorrectly thought that caesarean section is the best way of managing FGM if vaginal examination is not possible in the first stage of labour and 54% chose anterior episiotomy as the treatment of choice during the second stage. Our study found that there were significant gaps both in theoretical knowledge and practice.

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