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Government launches study into female genital mutilation

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Nurses and midwives are today being asked to take part in a new government study into female genital mutilation.

The controversial practice, also known as female genital cutting, can cause long-term physical and mental health problems, difficulty in giving birth, infertility and death.

It is hoped that the study – open to all healthcare professionals working in maternity, obstetrics, gynaecology and sexual health - will increase the government’s knowledge about women and girls affected by female genital mutilation.

It will also investigate how the training needs of key health professionals can be improved, and provide vital information for the development of appropriate sexual and reproductive health services.

Although it is illegal in the UK, England’s chief nursing officer Dame Christine Beasley said that up to 24,000 young girls in the UK are at risk of female genital mutilation.

‘We have put training in place to support frontline healthcare staff in responding where they see or hear of this practice taking place,’ she said.

‘By taking part in this research, nurses will be helping to ensure that the training available to them in this difficult area is refined and improved. I urge all nurses to log on and take part in this research,’ she added.

The findings of the study, which will run until 8 October 2009, will be used to inform the forthcoming cross-government strategy on tackling violence against women and girls.

To take part online click here and enter the password fgmsurvey

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Also called female circumcision this is a disgraceful and abusive practice carried out in the name of religion and 'cultural expectation'. Perhaps a similar example is male circumcision carried out without analgesia, asepsis, or antibiotic cover by rabbis and mohins. I n the US test cases are arising where men are claiming sexual abuse when they were a baby... Perhaps we should take the hint and adjust this practice too?

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  • indeed the male equivalent would be to slice into the penis, remove it leaving but a small tube for the sperm and urine and to stitch the rest of it together. no anesthetic but also left with no feeling - well unless u like pain. female genital mutilation should not be refered to as female circumsion as it leaves the impression that it is somehow similar to male circumsion which it is NOT - at all. male circumsion merely removes the outer layer - the foreskin - female genital mutilation aims to remove the clitorous - where thousands of nerve are - different types of FGM will do varius amounts of damage - but ultimatly is a form of control in a male dominated world. there is no religous input yet many people will say it is in the koran - it is not. it is a cultural trait that has gone on for centuarys (evidence in 15th centuarys). in some tribes in africa as many as 1 in 12 girls will die as a direct result from this proceedure. the women are sewn shut after - to have intercouse the man will cut them open -she is then sewn shut until she is ready to give birth - another cut open - she will get 2 days recovery post birth wiht her legs bound then back to work. very severe conditions for very hard women who strongly belive in their womanhood and purity. it is what makes them sexually apppealing, pure and a good woman. to show pain is to be a weak woman. charities like womenatrisk try to promote change to these practrices but they are deeply ingrained - the law just pushes this more underground especially within western countries. they say 24000 the real figure is probably easliy 3 times that

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