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Portugal is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) a risk country for the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Objectives: To evaluate the knowledge that health professionals from Maternity Dr. Alfredo da Costa (MAC)have regarding FGM.

Population and Methods: Analysis of surveys delivered to health professionals from MAC (a hospital dedicatedto reproductive health), between April and June 2008, addressing issues related to the knowledge about FGM.

Results: Authors collected 112 valid surveys involving 38 doctors, 48 nurses and 26 medical auxiliaries/administrativepersonnel. From the respondents, 106 (95%) had heard about FMG practice before, the media beingthe most reported source of information; 59 (53%) replied they could be able to recognize FGM cases in theirclinical practice; however, only 31 (28%) claimed to know the FGM type classiication and 32 (29%) admitted tobe prepared to recognize and manage these situations in their own clinical practice; 9 had been consulted explicitlyby a FGM practice complication and 1 doctor had admitted having been asked to perform/execute FGM; 13(12%) recognized that the Portuguese legislation its this practice. Regarding the practice of FGM, 100 (89%) ofrespondentes stated that it should not be maintained and 97 (87%) stated that it should not be tolerated. However,42 (38%) considered that if these practices were a reality, then they should be medical assisted.

Discussion: Health professionals can play an important role in eliminating the practice of FGM, not only by theproper clinical management of this situation, but also by preventing those communities at risk to resort to FGM. Most health professionals are not prepared to deal with FGM in their clinical practice. It is important to promote a better knowledge on the subject and to create protocols for proper clinical management.

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