Public Release: 

How health professionals help and hinder eradication of female genital mutilation

Wiley

Migration has transferred the practice of genital mutilation of girls and women to countries where it was not common or does not originate, and the World Health Organization is campaigning to eradicate the practice. A new article highlights how health professionals--including nurses and midwives--both help and hinder eradication and management of female genital mutilation.

Nurses and midwives help with eradicating the practice as they are predominantly female and best placed to detect and protect children at risk, and to identify which women have been affected so that they can be offered appropriate care and support to live with genital mutilation's life-long consequences. However, some health professionals are hindering efforts through lack of education and awareness, inability to use protocols and guidelines, ignorance of the law and professional codes, and condoning the practice as a legitimate procedure.

"Globalization is a highly complex phenomenon that involves the presence of female genital mutilation in areas where this practice is forbidden. Nurses must be aware of the problem and develop their cultural competence to combat this challenge to democracy and the role of women in society," said Dr. José Siles-González, lead author of the Journal of Advanced Nursing article.

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