Archives Blog News

Maternal deaths and vulnerable migrants.

Lancet. 2008 Mar 15;371(9616):879-81. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60393-1.FREE

Maternal deaths and vulnerable migrants.

Bragg R.

Reaching Out Project, Medact, London N1 6HT, UK.


Media coverage of the recent UK Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) report focused on the risks associated with obesity, but largely ignored the findings about vulnerable migrants. Maternal mortality is six times higher for black African women and four times higher for black Caribbean women than for white women in the UK. Although some of the causes are understood, there are new factors that warrant further investigation.

Unsatisfactory arrangements for interpretation and lack of awareness of female genital cutting are documented in the report. Five women who were murdered by their partners had the abusive partner as their interpreter. For one woman, late identification of genital cutting led to an unnecessary caesarean section and may have directly contributed to her death. Migration from countries in which the practice is common has led to increased prevalence of genital cutting among pregnant women in the UK…

This paper can be accessed in this LINK

Archives Blog Original research

Female genital mutilation and public health: lessons from the British experience

Health Care for Women International. 1998 19(2) 119-129

Female genital mutilation and public health: lessons from the British experience

Elizabeth Thompson Ortiz


The author addresses the public health policy challenge posed by the increasing numbers of immigrant girls and women in the United States affected by female genital mutilation (FGM), a traditional ritual health practice in which part or all of the external genital structures are removed from females, usually during childhood. The practice is common today in 26 African nations and affects 100 to 126 million women and girls worldwide. The significant lifelong negative health impact of FGM has been documented. Recent developments in British domestic health and social policy are reviewed to provide insights. The definition of FGM, prevalence, health impact, and history of the practice are presented. Implications for the development of health and social services policies and programs in the United States are drawn.

This article can be purchased in this LINK

Archives Blog Original research

Female genital mutilation: perceptions of healthcare professionals and the perspective of the migrant families.

BMC Public Health. 2010 Apr 13;10:193.

Female genital mutilation: perceptions of healthcare professionals and the perspective of the migrant families.

Kaplan-Marcusán A, Del Rio NF, Moreno-Navarro J, Castany-Fàbregas MJ, Nogueras MR, Muñoz-Ortiz L, Monguí-Avila E, Torán-Monserrat P.

Primary Healthcare Centre Mataró 6 (Gatassa), Catalan Health Institute, Camí del Mig 36, 08303 Mataró, Barcelon, Spain.

BACKGROUND: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a traditional practice which is harmful to health and is profoundly rooted in many Sub-Saharan African countries. It is estimated that between 100 and 140 million women around the world have been victims of some form of FGM and that each year 3 million girls are at risk of being submitted to these practices. As a consequence of the migratory phenomena, the problems associated with FGM have extended to the Western countries receiving the immigrants. The practice of FGM has repercussions on the physical, psychic, sexual and reproductive health of women, severely deteriorating their current and future quality of life. Primary healthcare professionals are in a privileged position to detect and prevent these situations of risk which will be increasingly more present in Spain.

METHODS/DESIGN: The objective of the study is to describe the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the primary healthcare professionals, working in 25 health care centres in Barcelona and Girona regions, regarding FGM, as well as to investigate the perception of this subject among the migrant communities from countries with strong roots in these practices. A transversal descriptive study will be performed with a questionnaire to primary healthcare professionals and migrant healthcare users.Using a questionnaire specifically designed for this study, we will evaluate the knowledge, attitudes and skills of the healthcare professionals to approach this problem. In a sub-study, performed with a similar methodology but with the participation of cultural mediators, the perceptions of the migrant families in relation to their position and expectancies in view of the result of preventive interventions will be determined.Variables related to the socio-demographic aspects, knowledge of FGM (types, cultural origin, geographic distribution and ethnicity), evaluation of attitudes and beliefs towards FGM and previous contact or experience with cases or risk situations will be obtained.

DISCUSSION: Knowledge of these harmful practices and a preventive approach from a transcultural perspective may represent a positive intervention model for integrative care of immigrants, respecting their values and culture while also being effective in eliminating the physical and psychic consequences of FGM.

This article can be accessed in this LINK