Raising awareness about the socio-cultural, ethico-legal, sexual health and clinical care implications involved in FGM is essential.
Education and training needs to be provided for all health and social care professionals who may work with affected women and girls and with their families. It is also important to consider the issues of ethnicity, custom, culture and religion in a sensitive manner.
Professionals should explore ways of resolving problems about the continuation of this practice in ways that involve clients with their full participation.
Education of male partners and community leaders might reduce the number of children, young and older women who suffer in the future. However, cultural practices like FGM have been ingrained for many generations, and will require extensive cultural education to address the issues thoroughly and effectively.
Nurse training has not included FGM as part of the curriculum in the past, and midwifery programmes may not address the issues adequately either. FGM
should be a part of sexual health education in all preregistration and post-registration programmes for nurses, midwives and health visitors. It is equally essential to raise awareness and the seriousness of the issues among teachers, school nurses and social service staff.
The programme of training around FGM should include the following:
- overview of FGM (what it is, when and where it is performed)
- socio-cultural context
- facts and figures
- UK FGM and child protection law
- FGM complications
- pregnancy, labour and postnatal periods
- safeguarding children – principles to follow when FGM is
- suspected or been performed
- roles of different professionals.
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