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This community-based, cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted in four communities in Nigeria’s Delta, and was conceptualized to address gaps in our understanding of medicalization of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and to provide critical evidence needed to effectively design abandonment interventions. The study findings reveal that the social norms driving FGM/C practice remain entrenched despite a shift to medicalization. They also reflect the tendency of parents and health workers to view FGM/C, whether traditional or medicalized, as a minor procedure with few complications and significant benefits that would positively impact a daughter’s future status as a wife and mother. Findings reveal that there is a need for aggressive, consistent, and specific FGM/C abandonment interventions targeting families and key influencers including health workers, traditional cutters, traditional birth attendants, and community leaders in the study communities. Such interventions should explicitly discourage medicalization along with other forms of FGM/C practice and must involve men who are often removed from the mechanics of FGM/C but are key decisionmakers. Interventions focused on health workers must view them not only within their professional capacities but also as community members functioning within FGM/C friendly socio-cultural milieus who may share community social norms.






Evidence to End FGM/C: Research to Help Girls and Women Thrive