Commentary: What should referral pathways have to improve healthcare experiences of women with female genital mutilation in Australia?

Njue, Carolyne, Ameyaw, Edward K., Ahinkorah, Bright O., Seidu, Abdul Aziz, and Kimani, Samuel (2021) Commentary: What should referral pathways have to improve healthcare experiences of women with female genital mutilation in Australia? Reproductive Health, 18 (1). 223.

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Background: We examined the evidence derived from healthcare professionals’ interfacing with women with female genital mutilation (FGM) to comprehend the referral pathways available to these women in Australia.

Main body: Clinicians encountered FGM-related complications that included ruptured bladder and total urinary incontinence. Midwives and paediatricians indicated a lack of referral pathways for FGM, but used their discretion to refer such cases to social work departments, obstetric/gynaecological units, child protection service providers, psychological counsellors and surgeons. The continuum of care for women with FGM is characterised by inadequate and lack of clear referral pathways. This underscores the need to develop and strengthen referral pathways in response to physical, birthing and psychological complications of women with FGM to improve their care experiences in Australia.

Short conclusion: Capacity building initiatives on FGM-prevention and care for trainees and practising health providers and community involvement in high burden areas/populations should be implemented to promote uptake and utilization of the referral services. Provision of infrastructural support, including clinical management tools, job aids, posters, referral algorithms and electronic patient records with "drop-down menus" for referral sites for health complications of FGM to reinforce the providers’ efforts are critical.

Item ID: 72869
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
ISSN: 1742-4755
Keywords: Australia, Female circumcision, Female genital mutilation, FGM-related care and management, Referral pathways
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date Deposited: 25 May 2022 22:49
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