Dr. Ramin Kawous' dissertation addresses the practice of FGM/C in the Netherlands

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the Netherlands: still a blind spot for general practitioners

The prevention of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and providing the right care for women who have been through this procedure begins with making FGM a subject for discussion, says Ramin Kawous, researcher at Pharos. 

He obtained his doctorate from the Erasmus University in the Netherlands on 10th November with his dissertation Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the Netherlands under the supervision of promotors Prof.dr. Lex Burdorf and Prof.dr. Maria van den Muijsenbergh.

Dr. Ramin Kawous’ dissertation addresses the practice of FGM/C in the Netherlands. The findings indicated that as of January 1st 2018, there were about 95,000 female migrants residing in the Netherland. It was estimated that about 41,000 girls and women have undergone FGM/C. It was also estimated that 4,190 girls are at risk of FGM/C in the near future. 

He aimed to estimate the prevalence of FGM/C among women giving birth in the Netherlands. In a nationwide survey among primary care midwifery practices reported 523 cases of FGM/C. Using a qualitative exploratory design, he explored attitude and intention of migrant populations in the Netherlands regarding FGM/C. 

The findings showed that as a result of migration many participants have changed their attitudes towards the abandonment of FGM/C. However, some participants feared that they might succumb to social pressure or feared that their daughter would undergo FGM/C without their consent. 

Finally, he aimed to investigate the registration of FGM/C and recognition and treatment of related health problems in Dutch general practice and to explore experiences with general practitioners of women who have undergone FGM/C. He concluded that FGM/C may be a blind spot for GP’s and registration of information on migration background could be improved. Women who have undergone FGM/C had difficulty discussing FGM/C with their GP due to, among others, the sensitive and taboo nature of FGM/C. They strongly preferred the GP to be proactive and ask about FGM/C.