Exploring perceptions of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) abandonment in Kenyan health-care professionals

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Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Nairobi


Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) remains a global problem. We aimed to explore Kenyan healthcare professionals’ (HCPs) perceptions of FGM/C abandonment and, in particular, 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 to 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 sub-categories: ‘exploring the influencers of persistence’ and the ‘roadmap to abandonment’. HCPs believed collaborative multi-lateral 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.

Bibliographic 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.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalQualitative Health Research
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2021


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