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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Training Providers, Reaching Communities: Counseling and Advocacy to Abandon Female Genital Cutting in Mali

Boniface Sebikali, MD, MPH, Cheick Oumar Touré, MD, Ellen Renée Wertheimer, MHS, and Perle Combary. IntraHealth International, 1700 Airport Rd., Suite 300, CB 8100, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8100, 919-962-6846, dnelson@intrahealth.org

While eliminating female genital cutting (FGC) may be seen as a clear-cut human rights and gender violence issue, efforts at eradication must take into account the complex social, cultural and economic environment that encourages perpetuation of the harmful traditional practice. In Mali, where 92% of women undergo FGC, an intervention assisted by the PRIME II Project made encouraging gains in enlisting primary providers of reproductive health services as counselors and advocates for change. Relying on outreach within and outside of health centers, the intervention improved providers’ knowledge, skills and awareness related to FGC so that they can both serve as resource persons in their communities and better identify and manage complications from FGC. Over the year-long intervention, providers facilitated 473 group education sessions with prenatal clients and conducted waiting-room education with 958 men who came to health centers for a consultation or to accompany a woman or child. By the end of the project, the percentage of clients who said they were in favor of abandoning FGC had increased from 24% to 60%, while the percentage of clients who intended to have FGC performed on their daughters decreased from 68% to 42%. The intervention shows that performance-based training in communications skills can help providers change their own attitudes about FGC, overcome their reticence to discuss the practice with clients, and deliver convincing messages about the need to abandon the practice in order to prevent difficult births, infection and infertility.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Female Genital Mutilation, Community Health Centers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Role of Relationships, Gender and Men in Reproductive Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA