Female genital cutting is strongly supported among the Somali ethnic community in Kenya, and the severest form (infibulation) is primarily practiced. This type of cut is associated with increased incidence and seriousness of obstetric and gynecological problems relative to uncut women and those with less severe forms of FGM/C. As stated in this brief, efforts to encourage abandonment should begin with community discussion about the socio-cultural reasons for cutting. Simultaneously, health-care providers need training in how to manage complications of FGM/C. In 2004, FRONTIERS collaborated with UNICEF on a four-month diagnostic study on FGM/C practices among the Somali community in Kenya. The study sought to better understand the community’s perception and practice of FGM/C, determine approaches to encourage its abandonment, and identify how the health system could be more actively engaged in managing complications and discouraging the practice. FRONTIERS and the Kenyan Ministry of Health used findings from this study to develop training that improves safe motherhood care, with a specific focus on managing complications associated with FGM/C.
"Kenya: Begin community dialogue on FGM/C by discussing cultural justification," FRONTIERS OR Summary no. 59. Washington, DC: Population Council, 2007.
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