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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): Health, Law, and Socio-Cultural Sensitivity

Understand the many impacts of FGM and the legal duty of a health and social care professional in reporting FGM practices.

1,230 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Help bridge the gap between FGM and medical education

FGM causes devastating mental and physical health impacts. Yet a gap in education on FGM has led to a lack of confidence among health care professionals to deal with this harmful practice.

On this four-week course, you’ll build your understanding of Female Genital Mutilation to help you recognise and report indicators of FGM or plans to inflict it.

This knowledge will increase your confidence and help you play a role in ending FGM.

Discover the impacts of FGM on women and girl’s health

You’ll learn the definition and the four types of Female Genital Mutilation before exploring the physiological and psychological aspects of FGM on women and girl’s health.

This understanding will help you identify the clinical diagnosis and the treatment for both the physical and mental health of victims of FGM.

There is a legal duty for health and social care professionals, educators, and police personnel to recognise and report physical or other indicators of FGM practices.

You’ll evaluate when and how it is appropriate to act in relation to your legal responsibilities and learn to apply your knowledge to recognise and report FGM.

Explore different perspectives alongside the experts at the University of Aberdeen

You’ll explore socio-cultural perspectives of FGM and how to manage difficult conversations.

This critical approach will help you analyse case studies of FGM practices from a range of perspectives.

You’ll learn from the experts at the University of Aberdeen who have created the course alongside a team of academics and medics who have been working on FGM projects for a number of years.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second VICTORIA KINKAID: Hello. My name is Victoria, and I’m one of the course facilitators. And I work as a doctor. Welcome to our course on female genital mutilation or FGM. We developed this course after doing a piece of research on how much UK medical students knew about FGM. And the outcome of the research was that 97.1% of respondents to our survey thought that more teaching on FGM would be beneficial. So we decided to develop this four-week short course. Each week, you will learn about female genital mutilation and dive into its health implications, the law around it, and the legal reporting that is mandated for different professionals.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds We have aimed the course at health care professionals, social workers, and police officers, but it can be done by anyone who has an interest in women’s health, global health, or health advocacy. To give you an overview, the four weeks are divided into week one, what is FGM. Week two, how FGM links in with a global picture and the sustainable development goals or SDGs. Week three, the legal aspects of FGM and mandatory reporting and week four, the sociocultural perspectives and advocacy around ending FGM.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds By the end of this module, you’ll be able to understand what FGM is and be able to recognise it, what the health implications of FGM are, and how the practise links with the global goal of ending violence against women. You will also understand the law around FGM and the mandatory reporting duties of all public sector organisations and individuals. You will also be able to discuss advocacy tactics around ending the practise. Each week is very interactive with lots of different forms of learning– audio, visual, and reading tasks, alongside discussion boards and thinking tasks to get your mind working. The discussion boards will involve us as course facilitators talking to you about FGM and having open discussions about the topics.

Skip to 2 minutes and 23 seconds At the end of each week, there will be a multiple choice quiz to consolidate your learning, which will cover what you’ve learned in each of the videos and readings for each week. You can use this to check what you’ve learned. We are really excited and passionate about this course and the topic and can’t wait to hear what you think of it. We really hope you enjoy the course.

What topics will you cover?

  • Definition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • Classifying and identifying types of FGM
  • Physiological and psychological aspects of FGM
  • Women’s and girls’ health
  • Clinical diagnosis/factors/treatment for physical and mental health
  • Legal aspects of health and social care
  • Education and policing practices
  • Gender Equality

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the four types of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and their characteristics
  • Describe the physical and psychological, cultural and social aspects and impacts of FGM
  • Apply knowledge and understanding (recognising FGM; reporting FGM; advocacy)
  • Critique case studies of FGM practices from a range of perspectives
  • Evaluate when and how it is appropriate to act in relation to legal responsibilities as a health and social care professional, educator or employee of a police service
  • Contribute to the creation of strategies to end FGM

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for health and social care professionals, educators, police, and anyone with an interest in women and girl’s health and ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Who will you learn with?

Senior Lecturer in Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen. Multidisciplinary social and health scientist with qualifications in law, philosophy, gender studies, sociology and criminology.

Medical doctor with a passion for the global provision of safe and equitable women’s healthcare. Research experience in global obstetric care and FGM education.

I am a Pharmacist that enjoys project planning with a passion for improving healthcare access in LMICs.
I read fiction, muse about life as an African woman in my blog and dream of travel outside work

I am a Public Health professional with interests in Epidemiology and Maternal & Child Health; open to other areas in Public Health.

I am UK doctor, currently based in general surgery in New Zealand with interests in sustainability and equity in healthcare. I love spending my free time on mountainsides or in the water.

Who developed the course?

University of Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen is the 3rd oldest Scottish and 5th oldest UK University. With 14500 students from 120 countries, it is a world leader in medical research, energy, environment, law and business.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
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  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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