Tag Archives: Refugees

Persons fleeing to a place of safety, especially those who flee to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution in their own country or habitual residence because of race, religion, or political belief. (Webster, 3d ed)

Female Genital Mutilation in a Young Refugee: A Case Report and Review

Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma. 2010, 3(3):234-242.

Female genital mutilation in a young refugee: a case report and review

Suardi E, Mishkin A & Henderson SW


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a widespread practice affecting up to 140 million girls and women worldwide (World Health Organization, 2008a). A substantial advocacy literature reports long-term psychological consequences of FGM, but there is little in the psychiatric literature to document this (Behrendt & Moritz, 2005). Within the broader psychiatric literature on refugee mental health, there are debates about the general validity of psychiatric diagnoses in refugee communities, including somatic disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (Summerfield, 2008). We present the case of a young woman with a history of FGM, who was repeatedly hospitalized for gastrointestinal complaints of unclear etiology and discuss how her case illustrates the diagnostic and cultural complexity of the psychosocial consequences of FGM and political asylum-seeking.

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Health care for immigrant women in Italy: are we really ready? A survey on knowledge about female genital mutilation.

Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2014;50(1):49-53.DOI: 10.4415/ANN_14_01_08.FREE

Health care for immigrant women in Italy: are we really ready? A survey on knowledge about female genital mutilation.

Caroppo E, Almadori A, Giannuzzi V, Brogna P, Diodati A, Bria P.


Background. Because of immigration, female genital mutilation (FGM) is an issue of increasing concern in western countries. Nevertheless operators without a specific training may ignore the health condition of women subjected to this practice and fail to provide them adequate assistance. The purpose of the study was to estimate the current knowledge about FGM among social and health care assistants working with asylum seeker.

Material and methods. From October to December 2012, a questionnaire was used to interview 41 operators working in CARA (Shelter for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) in central and southern Italy.

Results. Only 7.3% of respondents states to know well FGM, while 4.9% do not know it at all. 70.7% declare to have never met or assisted a woman with FGM, nevertheless all respondents work with asylum seeker from countries where FGM are performed.

Conclusions. Migration fluxes to Italy over the past decade created a healthcare challenge: women with FGM have specific medical and psychological problems that doctors, nurses and social assistants without specific training are not usually able to manage.

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Health care of refugee women.

Aust Fam Physician. 2007 Mar;36(3):151-4.FREE

Health care of refugee women.

Costa D.

Womens Health Statewide, North Adelaide, Australia. danielac@chariot.net.au


BACKGROUND: Women refugees have endured major discrimination and poverty in their countries of origin or countries of displacement. This has had a major impact on their physical and psychological health. The experience of resettlement places a further burden on their health.

OBJECTIVE: This article aims to provide a simple approach to the health assessment and management of women refugees, taking into account specific issues related to migration and resettlement.

DISCUSSION: Because of the complexities of their realities related to gender, social and economic status, and premigration and resettlement experiences, women refugees need a multiplicity of health interventions. The identification of the major physical and psychological health issues with consideration of gender issues and premigration and resettlement experiences, represents more adequate basis for the assessment and management of the health care of women refugees.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

[Legal aspects of ritual circumcision].

Klin Padiatr. 2009 Dec;221(7):409-14. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1233494.

[Legal aspects of ritual circumcision]. [Article in German]

Schreiber M, Schott GE, Rascher W, Bender AW.

Abteilung für Kinderurologie, Urologische Klinik, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen. ms.schreiber@yahoo.de


Female circumcision (genital mutilation) is a criminal violation of human rights under German law. Even with consent of the person to be circumcised and/or her legal representative this procedure must not be carried out since a consent to female circumcision is unethical and therefore void. As much consent as there is on female circumcision the legal situation with ritual male circumcision is very unclear. In practice and unnoticed by the public male circumcision is carried out – be it for medical or ritual reasons – without deeper-going reflexions on the clearness of the medical indication or the legal situation with ritual circumcision. From the medical aspect there are big differences between female and male circumcision but also certain parallels. Various reasons, partly founded in prejudice and misinformation, make people refrain from regarding circumcision of boys also as illegal. Contrary to the prevailing opinion male circumcision also represents a bodily harm which a doctor can only carry out after a preoperative interview and with the consent of the affected person. Since ritual male circumcision does not serve the wellbeing of a child it is not possible for the parents to give their consent to the circumcision in lieu of the child. Male circumcision is only permitted if the child has given his consent and is thus only legally permitted if the child has reached an age at which he is mature enough to understand the meaning and extent of such an action which is hardly the case before he has completed his 16 (th) year.

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“They get a C-section…they gonna die”: Somali women’s fears of obstetrical interventions in the United States.

J Transcult Nurs. 2010 Jul;21(3):220-7. doi: 10.1177/1043659609358780.

“They get a C-section…they gonna die”: Somali women’s fears of obstetrical interventions in the United States.

Brown E, Carroll J, Fogarty C, Holt C.

University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14620, USA. elizabeth_brown@urmc.rochester.edu


The authors explore sources of resistance to common prenatal and obstetrical interventions among 34 Somali resettled adult women in Rochester, New York. Results of individual interviews and focus groups with these women revealed aversion to or outright fear of cesarean sections because of fear of death and substantial resistance regarding other obstetrical interventions. Because Somali women expressed resistance to many common U.S. prenatal/obstetrical care practices, educating health professionals about Somali women’s fears and educating Somali women about common obstetrical practices are both necessary to improve maternity care for non-Bantu and Bantu Somali women.

This article can be purchased in this LINK

Invisible and involuntary: female genital mutilation as a basis for asylum.

Cornell Law Review. 2010, Vol. 95:599-626FREE

Invisible and involuntary: female genital mutilation as a basis for asylum.

Zsaleh E. Harivandi


Female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice of cutting or otherwise damaging the genitalia of young women and girls, is a cultural tradition in some third-world countries. Although the practice is widespread in parts of the world, many women and girls participate unwillingly. After all, FGM has severe short- and long-term health consequences both for the women who undergo it and for their future children. Despite the severity of the harm caused by FGM, however, many women who arrive in the United States seeking asylum on the basis of FGM have difficulty establishing that they are, in fact, refugees.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

[Medical and legal aspects of genital mutilation and circumcision part I: female genital mutilation (FGM)].

Arch Kriminol. 2011 Jan-Feb;227(1-2):1-22.

[Medical and legal aspects of genital mutilation and circumcision part I: female genital mutilation (FGM)].

[Article in German]

Dettmeyer R, Laux J, Friedl H, Zedler B, Bratzke H, Parzeller M.

Aus dem Institut für Rechtsmedizin der Universität Giessen.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is considered to be against the law and against morality not only in Western countries, although a woman of age and able to consent may sometimes think differently. The procedure may have serious physical and emotional consequences for the girl or woman. Nevertheless there are attempts to justify the procedure with medical and hygienic pseudoarguments, ideology, freedom of religion, cultural identity and social adequacy. Outside the Western world, some people claim that religion and culture alone justify the practice. In Germany, parents can lose the right to determine the residence of their daughter, if she is faced with the risk of genital mutilation in order to prevent that the  child or girl is taken to her home country. Genital mutilation as a gender-specific threat is recognized as a reason to grant asylum or prevent deportation. Proposals to make genital mutilation a separate punishable offence are presently discussed by the legislator.

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Clinical issues in refugee healthcare: the Somali Bantu population.

Nurse Pract. 2011 Jul;36(7):48-53.

Clinical issues in refugee healthcare: the Somali Bantu population.

Parve J, Kaul T.

Medical College of Wisconsin and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Inc., Milwaukee, WI, USA.


With an estimated 803,500 refugees residing in the United States, many NPs will encounter patients who do not speak, read, or understand English. Many of these patients have challenging health issues such as parasitic diseases and chronic or acute diseases not commonly seen in the United States and NPs will need to be prepared for these challenges.

This article can be purchased in this LINK

Building community-based participatory research partnerships with a Somali refugee community.

Am J Prev Med. 2009 Dec;37(6 Suppl 1):S230-6.

Building community-based participatory research partnerships with a Somali refugee community.

Johnson CE, Ali SA, Shipp MP.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maricopa Integrated Health System, Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center, Arizona State University, 411 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85004, USA. Crista.Johnson@asu.edu

BACKGROUND: The U.S. has become home to growing numbers of immigrants and refugees from countries where the traditional practice of female genital cutting (FGC) is prevalent. These women under-utilize reproductive health care, and challenge healthcare providers in providing culturally appropriate care. PURPOSE: This study examined Somali immigrant women’s experiences with the U.S. healthcare system, exploring how attitudes, perceptions, and cultural values, such as FGC, influence their use of reproductive health care. METHODS: A mixed-method community-based participatory research (CBPR) collaboration with a Somali refugee community was conducted from 2005 to 2008 incorporating surveys, semi-structured focus groups, and individual interviews. Providers caring for this community were also interviewed to gain their perspectives and experiences. RESULTS: The process of establishing a partnership with a Somali community is described wherein the challenges, successes, and lessons learned in the process of conducting CBPR are examined. Challenges obtaining informed consent, language barriers, and reliance on FGC self-report were surmounted through mobilization of community social networks, trust-building, and the use of a video-elicitation device. The community partnership collaborated around shared goals of voicing unique healthcare concerns of the community to inform the development of interventional programs to improve culturally-competent care. CONCLUSIONS: Community-based participatory research using mixed-methods is critical to facilitating trust-building and engaging community members as active participants in every phase of the research process, enabling the rigorous and ethical conduct of research with refugee communities.

This article can be purchased in this LINK

Leaving the female body intact

Nurs N Z. 1996 May;2(4):20-1.

Leaving the female body intact.

Ahmed S.

More than 80 million women in Africa and around the world have been damaged by the practice of female genital mutilation. As Somali refugees are accepted into New Zealand and others immigrate from African countries where the practice is still prevalent, health professionals need to be aware of what legal, ethical and cultural considerations are involved.

There is no link to view this article online.