Exploring Perceptions of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Abandonment (FGM/C) in Kenyan Health Care Professionals

Ayaan Mohamud, Zahida Qureshi, Gilles De Wildt, Laura Jones

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Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) remains a global problem. We aimed to explore Kenyan health care professionals’ (HCPs) perceptions of FGM/C abandonment and, in particular, those focused on those serving Maasai communities who continue to practice FGM/C. Using a grounded theory Straussian approach, 18 interviews were conducted with HCPs in Kajiado County, Kenya, to understand perceptions of FGM/C as a cultural practice, identify barriers and facilitators to abandonment, and explore attitudes to medicalization (FGM/C conducted by HCPs) and alternatives of FGM/C. Within a substantive theory, one core category (“FGM/C persists but can be abandoned”) comprised two subcategories: “exploring the influencers of persistence” and the “roadmap to abandonment.” HCPs believed collaborative multilateral efforts were necessary to support successful abandonment and that “enlightening” the community needed to focus on changing the perception of FGM/C as a social norm alongside a health risk educational approach. Future effective intervention is needed to support the abandonment of FGM/C in Kenya.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1976-1989
Number of pages14
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number11
Early online date4 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the University of Birmingham. Neither funder had any involvement in the planning, execution, or analysis of the study project but study findings have been shared with both parties.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Kenya
  • abandonment
  • female circumcision
  • female genital cutting
  • grounded theory
  • health care professionals
  • qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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