Female genital mutilation in Switzerland: a survey among gynaecologists

Swiss Med Wkly. 2002 May 18;132(19-20):259-64. doi: 10.4414/smw.2002.09912.


Question under study: To evaluate the situation of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Switzerland.

Methods: Through a questionnaire, Swiss gynaecologists were asked if they have been confronted to FGMs, if they have been asked to perform infibulations and FGMs. The health representatives (Kantonsärzte/médecins cantonaux) were interviewed on FGM activity at the Canton level. Swiss Medical Schools were asked if FGM was included in the pregraduate curriculum, and an estimated prevalence rate for FGMs in Switzerland was gathered.

Results: Among Swiss gynaecologists, 20% reported having been confronted with patients presenting with FGM and among them 40% had been asked about reinfibulation. Gynaecologists are occasionally asked about the possibility of performing FGMs in Switzerland. No activity concerning FGM is reported by health authorities in the Cantons. Teaching about FGM is not included in the curriculum of any of the Swiss medical schools. Approximately 6,700 girls at risk and women who have undergone FGM live in Switzerland.

Conclusion: The extent to which gynaecologists are confronted to women with FGM may justify further action to try to better understand the situation in Switzerland. Improvement of care by better education of health care providers (guidelines) and prevention of new cases by women's education should also be considered.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / psychology*
  • Genitalia, Female / surgery*
  • Gynecology / education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Mutilation / psychology
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Women's Health