142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Mother, daughter and doctor: Medical professionals and mothers' decision-making about FGM/C in Egypt

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 8:42 AM - 8:54 AM

Sepideh Modrek, Ph.D. , School of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Maia Sieverding, Ph.D. , Global Health Group, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
The medicalization of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) has moved a domain of women’s health that was once under female family control to one that increasingly involves consultation between mothers and doctors.  In countries such as Egypt, where medicalization has been associated with declining prevalence of FGM/C, this has opened up a new realm of influence for medical professionals.  This paper draws on a mixed-methods study of FGM/C in Egypt to examine the role of consultations between mothers and doctors in the perpetuation of the practice.

Data are drawn from a survey of 410 mothers of young daughters in an urban and a rural location.  The survey addressed mothers’ decision-making regarding the circumcision of their daughters, including the role of medical professionals and personal networks. Follow-up in-depth interviews were conducted with 29 of the respondents.

A large percentage of mothers reported consulting a medical professional in deciding whether or not to circumcise their daughters.  Demand for this consultation is created by the perception that circumcision is medically recommended for some girls.  Mothers report medical professionals deciding whether or not to recommend circumcision based on a physical examination of the girl; high levels of trust in the advice of doctors results in substantial accordance between the doctor’s recommendation and actual circumcision.  These findings suggest that greater sensitization of medical professionals, not only illegalization, is necessary in order to further reduce the practice of FGM/C.  An important step in this direction is the development of a curriculum on FGM/C in national medical schools.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain trends in the medicalization of FGM/C in Egypt Discuss how medical professionals play a role in the perpetuation of the practice

Keyword(s): Women's Health, Decision-Making

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a researcher with interest in women’s health in the middle east. I have previously co-authored two studies related to the changing patterns of FGM in Egypt. I obtained funding, led the design and co-authored this paper.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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