Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a complex and deeply rooted sociocultural custom that is innately entrenched in the lives of those who continue its practice despite the physical and psychological dangers it perpetrates. FGM/C is considered a significant independent risk factor for adverse maternal and fetal outcomes in pregnancy and childbirth. Several studies in high-income countries have explored the experiences and needs of women with FGM/C as well as the knowledge of the health professionals, particularly midwives and nurses, who care for them. However, to date, no studies have evaluated the implementation of education for health professionals in high-income countries to meet the specific needs of women with FGM/C.
This study aims to explore the impact of an FGM/C education program for midwives and nurses as informed by the experiences of women with FGM/C accessing maternity, gynecological, and sexual health services in South Australia.
This study will adopt a three-phase, exploratory sequential mixed methods design. Phase 1 will involve the exploration of women with FGM/C views and experiences accessing maternity and gynecological (including sexual health) services in South Australia. The findings from phase 1 will inform phase 2: the development of an educational program for midwives and nurses on the health and cultural needs of women with FGM/C. Phase 3 will involve the evaluation of the program by measuring midwives’ and nurses’ changes in knowledge, attitude, and practice immediately before and after the education as well as 4 months after completing the program. Phase 1 of this study has been approved by the Women’s and Children’s Health Network human research ethics committee (ID number 2021/HRE00156) and the University of South Australia human research ethics committee (ID number 204096).
Phase 1 will commence in August 2021, with the interpretation of findings being undertaken by November 2021. Phase 2 will be developed and facilitated by February 2022, and the final phase of this study will begin in March 2022. This study is expected to be completed by February 2023.
The findings of this research will provide insight into the development and evaluation of education programs for midwives and nurses that includes collaboration with women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to address the specific cultural and health needs of communities.