A systematic review of doctors' experiences and needs to support the care of women with female genital mutilation

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2015 Oct;131(1):35-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2015.04.033. Epub 2015 Jun 18.


Background: Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other injury for non-therapeutic reasons. Little is known about the knowledge and skills of doctors who care for affected women and their practice in relation to FGM.

Objectives: To examine the FGM experiences and educational needs of doctors.

Search strategy: A structured search of five bibliographic databases was undertaken to identify peer-reviewed research literature published in English between 2004 and 2014 using the keywords "female genital mutilation," "medical," "doctors," "education," and "training."

Selection criteria: Observational, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental descriptive studies were suitable for inclusion.

Data collection and analysis: A narrative synthesis of the study findings was undertaken and themes were identified.

Main results: Ten papers were included in the review, three of which were from low-income countries. The analysis identified three themes: knowledge and attitudes, FGM-related medical practices, and education and training.

Conclusions: There is a need for improved education and training to build knowledge and skills, and to change attitudes concerning the medicalization of FGM and reinfibulation.

Keywords: Doctors; Education; Female genital mutilation; Medical practitioners; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Circumcision, Female / adverse effects*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / etiology*
  • Genital Diseases, Female / therapy
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Physicians / standards