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Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C): Survey of RANZCOG Fellows, Diplomates & Trainees and FGM/C prevention and education program workers in Australia and New Zealand

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Article first published online: 23 SEP 2012

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C): Survey of RANZCOG Fellows, Diplomates & Trainees and FGM/C prevention and education program workers in Australia and New Zealand

Moeed SM, Grover SR

Background

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is traditionally practised in parts of Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia. Migration has brought FGM/C to the attention of health practitioners in industrialised nations. It is not known whether FGM/C procedures are being performed in Australia and New Zealand, where legislation has been passed banning the practice.

Aims

To survey RANZCOG Fellows, Trainees and Diplomates, and FGM/C education and prevention program workers, about their experience with women and children affected by FGM/C, specifically to identify whether FGM/C is being performed in Australia or New Zealand.

Methods

Electronic survey distributed via e-mail to RANZCOG Fellows, Trainees and Diplomates and FGM/C program workers in Australia and New Zealand between November 2010 and February 2011.

Results

530 responses were received from RANZCOG Fellows, Trainees and Diplomates, with an overall response rate of 18.5%. Thirty-four responses were received from FGM/C program workers. Five RANZCOG respondents and two FGM/C program workers cited anecdotal evidence that FGM/C is being performed in Australia and New Zealand. 21.2% (82) of RANZCOG respondents had been asked to re-suture following delivery, and 11 respondents had done so at least once. Two RANZCOG respondents had been asked to perform FGM/C on a baby, girl or young woman.

Conclusions

There is no conclusive evidence of FGM/C being performed in Australia and New Zealand, either from direct reports or children presenting with complications, although re-suturing post-delivery is occurring. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is most likely that people other than registered health practitioners are performing FGM/C.

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