Example I : Belgium – Involving general practitioners


The work of Dr. Athena Patoulidis on the management of Femal Genital Mutilation by general practitioners (GPs) in Belgium highlighted several obstacles to the investment of practitioners on this issue: lack of knowledge and practical tools as well as fear of addressing FGM with patients and preferring to ignore the issue.

GPs could, however, play a fundamental role in the prevention and care of girls and women who have undergone FGM. Dr. Patoulidis therefore set up training for practitioners based on the gaps identified in the study. She teaches general practitioners how to use the available tools as well as how to know when and how to refer them to other medical doctors as well as to specialised NGOs.

Above all, the Belgian author emphasizes that as a general practitioner one should not dodge the subject due to discomfort or feeling embarrassed… Patients are often willing to address the issue but will dare to do so only if the practitioner takes the first step.

To know more:

  • Patoulidis, A, Female Genital Mutilations in Belgium: “Assessment of the Current State of Knowledge and Practice in General Medicine”, 2016 (French)
  • “Assessment of Medical Expectations and Needs of Concerned Patients”, 2018. (French)

Interview conducted by the Concerted Strategies against FGM, Belgium: Prevention and management of FGM in general practice

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