What women want: a reflexive thematic analysis of the healthcare experiences of women with female genital mutilation/cutting in South Australia

Monica P. Diaz*, Angela E. Brown, Julie-Anne Fleet, Mary Steen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Global migration has seen an increase in female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) cases observed in countries where it is not part of the cultural norm. This shift has led to many healthcare professionals (HCPs) reporting a lack of knowledge and skills necessary to support the needs of women with FGM/C.

To explore the experiences and needs of women with FGM/C accessing women’s health services in South Australia.

Women with FGM/C were recruited through purposive and snowball sampling to participate in one-to-one semi-structured interviews. The voice recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded, and analysed using Braun and Clarke’s reflexive thematic analysis to determine themes.

Ten migrant and refugee women living in South Australia, were interviewed. Four themes and 13-subthemes were identified. The main themes were, 1) the healthcare experience, 2) cultural values shape the healthcare experience, 3) speaking up about female genital cutting and 4) working together to improve healthcare experiences.

Women’s cultural needs, not their health needs, play a fundamental role on how women experienced healthcare services. When women’s cultural values and traditions are acknowledged by HCPs, they are more likely to trust and feel confident to engage with services and seek medical support. Areas identified for improvement included access to the right interpreters, having more time during appointments, opportunities for continuity of care and the inclusion of family in care and treatment decisions.

Women with FGM/C have specific health and cultural needs that can be met through education and provision of woman-centred care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e652-e660
Number of pages9
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number6
Early online date26 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

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