Tag Archives: Belgium

Female genital mutilation: Knowledge, attitude and practices of Flemish midwives

Midwifery. 2014 Dec 8. pii: S0266-6138(14)00294-0. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2014.11.012. [Epub ahead of print]

Female genital mutilation: Knowledge, attitude and practices of Flemish midwives.

Cappon S, L’Ecluse C, Clays E, Tency I, Leye E


BACKGROUND: health professionals in Belgium are confronted with female genital mutilation (FGM). To date, no survey to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices on FGM was conducted among midwives in the Northern region of Belgium. OBJECTIVE: the objective of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of Flemish midwives regarding female genital mutilation (FGM). DESIGN: we used a quantitative design, using KAP study (semi-structured questionnaire). SETTING: labour wards, maternity wards and maternal intensive care units (MIC) in 56 hospitals in Flemish region of Belgium. PARTICIPANTS: 820 midwives, actively working in labour wards, maternity wards and maternal intensive care units (MIC). FINDINGS: 820 valid questionnaires (40.9%) were returned. More than 15% of the respondents were recently confronted with FGM. They were mostly faced with the psychological and sexual complications caused by FGM. Few respondents were aware of existing guidelines regarding FGM in their hospitals (3.5%). The results also showed that only 20.2% was aware of the exact content of the law. The majority of midwives condemned the harmful traditional practice: FGM was experienced as a form of violence against women or a violation of human rights. Only 25.9% declared that FGM forms a part of their midwifery program. The vast majority of respondents (92.5%) indicated a need for more information on the subject. KEY CONCLUSIONS: this study indicated that midwives in Flanders are confronted with FGM and its complications and highlighted the gaps in the knowledge of Flemish midwives regarding FGM. This may interfere with the provision of adequate care and prevention of FGM for the new-born daughter. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: there is an important need for appropriate training of (student)midwives concerning FGM as well as for the development and dissemination of clear guidelines in Flemish hospitals.

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Estimating the number of women with female genital mutilation in Belgium.

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2011 Aug;16(4):248-57. Epub 2011 May 11.

Estimating the number of women with female genital mutilation in Belgium.

Dubourg D, Richard F, Leye E, Ndame S, Rommens T, Maes S.

Institute of Tropical Medicine , Antwerp, Belgium. ddubourg@itg.be


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the number of women with female genital mutilation (FGM) living in Belgium, the number of girls at risk, and the target population of medical and social services (MSSs) concerned.

METHODS: Data about prevalence of FGM from the most recently published Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys were applied to females living in Belgium who migrated from countries where excision or infibulation are being practised, and to their daughters.

RESULTS: Amongst the 22,840 women and girls living in Belgium who are from a country concerned, 6,260 have ‘most probably already undergone a FGM’ (women born in the country of origin), and 1,975 are ‘at risk’ (second generation born in Belgium). The target population of MSSs comprises 1,190 girls less than five years old attending well-baby clinics, 1,690 girls aged 5-19 years attending preventive school health centres, 4,905 women 20-49 years old and 450 women over 50 years of age attending reproductive health services. The population of women concerned is unequally dispersed in Belgium and reflects the distribution of migrant settlement in the different provinces.

CONCLUSION: FGM in Belgium requires a more concerted approach in terms of prevention, and medical and social care. Accurate information about the distribution of women concerned should permit better planning of competent services.

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