Female Genital Mutilation: Knowledge, attitudes, and practices of Flemish gynaecologists
Questionnaire survey was sent to 724 Flemish gynaecologists and trainees to assess their knowledge, attitudes and practices with regard to FGM
Leye, E.; Ysebaert, I.; Deblonde, J.; Claeys, P.; Vermeulen, G.; Jacqemyn, Y.; Temmerman, M.
Year of data collection
Flemish gynaecologists and trainees in Flanders
Prevalence data on FGM
58.4% (195/334) of respondents had seen one or more circumcised women or girls during consultations. Six out of 328 respondents (1,8%) had received a request for circumcision, thirteen (4%) had received questions concerning the possibility of FGM in Belgium, and 31 gynaecologists (9,5%) had already heard that FGM had been done in Belgium. Among 168 respondents who were confronted with one or more infibulated women, 27% were asked for a re-infibulation. Of these, 18 performed a re-infibulation, of which 7 performed a total re-infibulation.
Disaggregated data per country of origin
Although most women and girls from 'FGM risk countries' residing in Belgium are from Ghana and DRC, women who presented to gynaecologists were mainly from Somalia and Ethiopia. This might be due to the fact that women with type III FGM, common in Somalia and in some regions of Ethiopia, are more liable to suffer from complications, or that gynaecologists failed to recognize less extensive forms of FGM as practised in Ghana and DRC.
Limitations of study
Of the gynaecologists and trainees In Flanders who had been contacted, 46% responded. There might be a response bias as it is possible that those who had already been confronted with FGM were more likely to respond. The low response rate does not allow to estimate how often gynaecologists are confronted with FGM. This study did not only focus on prevalence, but also on knowledge and attitudes of gynaecologists.