Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) is a global public health problem. The practice is particularly prevalent amongst people of African, Middle East and South East Asian descent. FGM/C creates a permanent change to the body of women. When such women migrate to other countries, they bring the associated social and health problems of FGM/C with them. As a multicultural society, Australia has many residents who come from settings in which FGM/C is prevalent. This qualitative study investigated whether healthcare professionals in Western Australia are prepared and able to provide adequate healthcare to women living with FGM/C. We found that there is a paucity of literature in Australia generally, and Western Australia more specifically, about FGM/C and the associated experiences of healthcare providers. Healthcare professionals were found to experience challenges when working with women living with FGM/C, mainly because of poor cultural sensitivity and poor levels of communication, and lacked appropriate education and training for working with women living with FGM/C. This study identified a need for empirical studies on how women living with FGM/C experience sexual and reproductive health services in Western Australia.
Part of the book: Psycho-Social Aspects of Human Sexuality and Ethics