While work continues to eradicate FGC in indigenous societies, we envision a future in which FGC-affected immigrant communities in the developed world receive holistic support. In the authors' opinion, the ideal situation would be one in which formal training on FGC was developed for healthcare providers, school personnel and social service workers. Pediatric care providers would learn about this cultural norm to facilitate early intervention. They would be trained on how to address the practice and its complications in a factual yet sensitive manner. Training for school counselors and nurses would cover the cultural context of FGC, the urinary and menstrual complications that affect these girls and their potential need for information on adequate menstrual hygiene. Obstetricians, gynecologists, nurses and midwives would be formally trained on how to care for these patients, how to provide information on obstetric interventions and gynecological complications, and how to interact with their spouses in a culturally competent way. Moreover, virtually nothing is known about the postmenopausal experience of these women. Prospective research should be initiated in immigrant communities as emphasis shifts to aging populations and geriatric care. Psychological and sociological research should explore how affected girls, women and families process the information that cutting is not universal and how this influences their integration into the host country at various life stages, from school to marriage and beyond. Community centers could be established to facilitate culturally competent collaboration between women's health advocates, healthcare providers, immigrant thought leaders, families, individuals and social welfare organizations, to build trust and encourage positive change over the long term.
The authors acknowledge Barbara Swift for assistance with the literature search and Deborah Hutchins of Hutchins & Associates LLC (Cincinnati, OH, USA) for technical and editorial assistance (funded by the Procter & Gamble Company).
Women's Health. 2015;11(1):79-94. © 2015 Future Medicine Ltd.