Services for women with female genital mutilation in Christchurch : perspectives of women and their health providers
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
Abstract In recent decades there has been increased immigration to New Zealand of women from East Africa. These countries have the highest prevalence rates (between 90-97%) of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) worldwide. FGM therefore has become part of the care experience of some New Zealand health providers. Information on FGM is available on the New Zealand Ministry of Health website. This study captures the experience of a group of East African women in Christchurch who have undergone FGM and given birth in Christchurch Hospitals. Two focus groups, each with ten women, were held so that women could talk about their health services experience. A narrative approach was adopted, listening to their stories in order to explore, to gain insight and to understand how these women felt during reproductive and antenatal care, childbirth and after childbirth. Interviews with three health providers sought their experiences of caring for women with FGM. The study identifies diverse potential explanations with the focus group members telling their stories and identifying issues related to FGM. Several short case histories are presented to illustrate these experiences. The thematic analysis reported four themes: satisfaction with clinical care, concern about infibulation, barriers to knowledge for women, and problems of cross-cultural communication. Health providers reported similar issues, with themes related to their own clinical experience, knowledge gaps, and need for greater cultural understanding and communication. These themes reflect the journey of the East African women with FGM in Christchurch and the challenges faced by them and their providers. This research recommends that women with FGM receive more education and support to manage their relationships with the health system and their own health. Health providers need continuing education and further support in the psychosocial, psychological and physical health needs of East African women living in Christchurch. Service outcomes should be evaluated.