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What are the experiences of seeking, receiving and providing FGM-related healthcare? Perspectives of health professionals and women/girls who have undergone FGM: protocol for a systematic review of qualitative evidence
  1. Catrin Evans1,
  2. Ritah Tweheyo1,
  3. Julie McGarry1,
  4. Jeanette Eldridge2,
  5. Carol McCormick3,
  6. Valentine Nkoyo4,
  7. Gina Marie Awoko Higginbottom1
  1. 1 School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2 Research and Learning Services, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK
  3. 3 Consultant Midwife, Nottingham University Hospital Trust, Nottingham, UK
  4. 4 Executive Board, Mojatu Foundation, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catrin Evans; catrin.evans{at}


Introduction Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an issue of global concern. High levels of migration mean that healthcare systems in higher-income western countries are increasingly being challenged to respond to the care needs of affected communities. Research has identified significant challenges in the provision of, and access to, FGM-related healthcare. There is a lack of confidence and competence among health professionals in providing appropriate care, suggesting an urgent need for evidence-based service development in this area. This study will involve two systematic reviews of qualitative evidence to explore the experiences, needs, barriers and facilitators to seeking and providing FGM-related healthcare in high-income (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, from the perspectives of: (1) women and girls who have undergone FGM and (2) health professionals.

Review methods Twelve databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, ASSIA, Web of Science, ERIC, CINAHL, and POPLINE will be searched with no limits on publication year. Relevant grey literature will be identified from digital sources and professional networks.

Two reviewers will independently screen, select and critically appraise the studies. Study quality will be assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument appraisal tool. Findings will be extracted into NVivo software. Synthesis will involve inductive thematic analysis, including in-depth reading, line by line coding of the findings, development of descriptive themes and re-coding to higher level analytical themes. Confidence in the review findings will be assessed using the CERQual approach. Findings will be integrated into a comprehensive set of recommendations for research, policy and practice.

Dissemination The syntheses will be reported as per the Enhancing Transparency in Reporting the Synthesis of Qualitative Research (ENTREQ) statement. Two reviews will be published in peer-reviewed journals and an integrated report disseminated at stakeholder engagement events.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42015030001: 2015 and CRD42015030004: 2015.

  • female genital mutilation/cutting
  • qualitative evidence synthesis
  • immigrant health
  • health professional perspectives
  • systematic review
  • experience of migrant women and girls

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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  • Contributors CE conceptualised the project and prepared the project documents as PI in collaboration with the team members GH, JM, CC and VN. JE developed the search strategy and will carry out the searches. RT prepared the manuscript with CE and input from team members. All team members reviewed and approved this manuscript.

  • Funding The National Institute Health Research (NIHR) Health Service Research and Delivery Programme (NIHR 1115/137/04).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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