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Supporting the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation in the Context of Migration

IOM International Organization for Migration.

Supporting the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation in the Context of Migration


…IOM became increasingly concerned and aware of the practice of FGM when the numbers of African women refugees requiring health assessments for resettlement began to rise.10 The organization therefore started to address the issue within the framework of its integration activities. Through pre-departure cultural orientation courses, IOM advocates against FGM among groups preparing to resettle. This is where migrants first learn that the practice is banned in Europe and Northern America.

The organization has also now started to implement specific projects on FGM. Several IOM missions are already undertaking activities to support a complete abandonment of FGM in migrant communities in Europe, in particular Austria, Italy, Portugal, and Switzerland. Other IOM missions, such as Finland, carry out activities related to the prevention of FGM within the framework of broader projects, for example mainstreaming migrants’ health rights…

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HIV/AIDS and female genital mutilation in the Somali’s nomads of eastern Ethiopia: a discussion paper.

World Hosp Health Serv. 2006;42(3):27-31.

HIV/AIDS and female genital mutilation in the Somali’s nomads of eastern Ethiopia: a discussion paper.

Omar M, Mohamed K.

Institute of Health Sciences and Public Health Research, University of Leeds, United Kingdom.


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is widely practised among the Somali nomads in Eastern Ethiopia. It may be categorized as one of many harmful traditional practices such as uvula cutting, gum piercing, cauterization and blood letting, which are conducted by unskilled traditional healers in unhygienic conditions, and which potentially increase the risk of HIV transmission. Other factors also play a significant role in the perpetuation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region, such as lack of awareness, misconception about the routes of HIV transmission and ways of prevention, the practice of polygamy, and window inheritance. Pervasive poverty and recurrent famine also fuel the epidemic. Lack of official pastoralist-specific policy and strategy on HIV and FGM further complicates the problem. This paper discusses the possible relationship in terms of health risk between HIV/AIDS and FGM in the Horn of Africa and calls for more concerted efforts, including further research in order to address this potential risk.

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Female genital mutilation: the ethical impact of the new Italian law.

J Med Ethics. 2007 Feb;33(2):98-101. FREE

Female genital mutilation: the ethical impact of the new Italian law.

Turillazzi E, Fineschi V.

Department of Legal Medicine, University of Foggia, Policlinico Ospedali Riuniti, Via Luigi Pinto 1, 71100 Foggia, Italy.


Despite global and local attempts to end female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice persists in some parts of the world and has spread to non-traditional countries through immigration. FGM is of varying degrees of invasiveness, but all forms raise health-related concerns that can be of considerable physical or psychological severity. FGM is becoming increasingly prohibited by law, both in countries where it is traditionally practised and in countries of immigration. Medical practice prohibits FGM. The Italian parliament passed a law prohibiting FGM, which has put in place a set of measures to prevent, to oppose and to suppress the practice of FGM as a violation of a person’s fundamental rights to physical and mental integrity and to the health of women and girls. The Italian law not only treats new offences but also wants to deal with the problem in its entirety, providing important intervention in all the sectors. Different kinds of interventions are considered, starting with the development of informative campaigns, training of health workers, institution of a tollfree number, international cooperation programmes and the responsibility of the institution where the crime is committed. Particularly, the law recognises that doctors have a role in eliminating FGM by educating patients and communities.

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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 in Greece.

Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2012;39(3):346-50.FREE

Female genital mutilation in Greece.

Vrachnis N, Salakos N, Iavazzo C, Iliodromiti Z, Bakalianou K, Kouiroukidou P, Creatsas G.

2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Athens, Aretaieion Hospital, Athens, Greece.


The number of migrants and refugees with a female genital mutilation (FGM) living in Greece is rising. This study explores the characteristics and psychosexual issues of women with FGM who were examined in the 2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Athens Medical School, Greece during the year 2009. The women were asked to fill out an anonymous questionnaire asking for demographic data, obstetric history, current complaints, and psychosexual problems. The results are presented and discussed, as FGM is a new reality for Greece. Healthcare providers have to familiarize themselves with issues related to FGM and improve their skills in transcultural care, so as to manage and support women with FGM adequately.

This article can be accessed 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