Health Care in Europe for Women with Genital Mutilation

Health Care for Women International. 2006 27(4) 362-378

Health Care in Europe for Women with Genital Mutilation

Els Leye, Richard A. Powell, Gerda Nienhuis, Patricia Claeys & Marleen Temmerman


The increasing number of immigrants from African countries practicing female genital mutilation (FGM) has raised concern in Europe. Health care professionals have developed three main responses: (1) technical guidelines for clinical management; (2) codes of conduct on quality of care; and (3) specialised health services for medical and psychological care and counselling. Much remains to be done, however, to ensure adequate care in Europe: (1) medico-legal/ethical discussions; (2) development of protocols to assist in making informed decisions; and (3) development of guidelines on counselling, communication strategies, and referral procedures. All agencies working in the field of FGM should be interlinked at the national level, in which members of the affected communities should be included. At the European level, a coordinated approach between all agencies should be developed.

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