Female Genital Mutilation: A Religio-cultural Sensitive Issue Determining Maternal Healthcare Choices among Somali Women in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya

  • Josephine Gitome Kenyatta University, Kenya
  • Newton Kahumbi Kenyatta University, Kenya
  • Muthoni Mainah Kenyatta University, Kenya
  • Jacqueline M. Kituku Kenyatta University, Kenya
  • Teresa Mwoma Kenyatta University, Kenya
  • Priscilla Ndegwa Kenyatta University, Kenya
  • Jennifer Bagelman New Castle University, United Kingdom
Keywords: Infibulation, De-infibulation, Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Refugees, episiotomy


This paper focuses on Kenya’s development challenges in maternal health care, especially the impact of traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and female genital mutilation (FGM) among the refugees. The study identifies four objectives: to discuss the persistence of FGM among Somali women in Ifo Refugee Camp; to establish the hospital process of providing maternal health care to mothers who have gone through FGM; to find out the level of preparedness of the midwives to handle mothers with religio-cultural concerns such as prayer and non-involvement of male nurses; and how the practice of FGM contributes to the preference of TBA by mothers. This study assumes that midwives’ training may not have effectively addressed FGM, a social-cultural sensitive issue affecting childbirth and care. The specific support of midwives in refugee camps contexts also remains limited. A qualitative research approach was used in the study, involving Snowballing sampling method, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions (FGDs). These methods brought out pertinent issues that make TBAs the preferential option for some mothers despite the presence of level 4 category hospitals in the refugee camps. In case of birth complications, the mother’s choice for TBA delays the family’s decision to take her to the hospital and for healthcare workers to save mother and child. The shortage of midwives and the presence of male midwives in hospitals make some Somali mothers seek assistance from TBAs. There is a need to contextualize midwifery training by enhancing the curriculum with evidence-based/mother-centered skills.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

PlumX Statistics


1. Birgitta, E., Binder, P. & Dotter, S. (2011). “An anthropological analysis of the perspectives of Somali women in the West and their Obstetric Care Providers on Caesarean Birth”, Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 32:1, 10-18, DOI:10.3109/0167482X.2010.547966.
2. Deyo, N.S. (2012). "Cultural Traditions and the Reproductive Health of Somali Refugees and Immigrants". Master's Theses. 29.https://repository.usfca.edu/thes/29, University of San Francisco.
3. Horera, HJ. (2019). The Sustainable Development Goal 5 can be achieved by 2030? A Review study on Intervention to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation in African Countries in European; Scientific Journal Vol.15, No.35 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431, Doi:10.19044/esj.2019.v15n35p14 URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.19044/esj.2019.v15n35p14 P.18
4. Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008-2009 (2010). Nairobi Kenya & Measures DHS, ICF Macro Calverton, Maryland, U.S.A. Published in June https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/fr229/fr229.pdf
5. Kenya Service Provision Assessment Survey 2010 (2011). ICF Macro Calverton, Maryland USA https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/SPA17/SPA17.pdf
6. Lance, DL., Mona, MA., Elizabeth, D.B., & Linda, L.B. (2007). Muslim patients and Health Disparities in the UK and the US, Archives of Disease in Childhood; Vol 92 (10) 2007 Oct PMC 2083249, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2083249/

7. Magadi, M., Diamond, I., & Rodrigues, R.N. (2000). The determinants of Delivery Care in Kenya. Soc Biol 47: 164-188
8. Moreau, C., Trussell, J. & Bajos, N. (2013). Religiosity, religious affiliation, and patterns of sexual activity and contraceptive use in France (Eur J Contraceptive Reproductive Health Care, 18 (3), pp. 168-180.
9. Munala, J. & UNHCR (2003). Violence Against Women ; Combating FGM in Kenya’s Refugee Camps; Human Rights Dialogue 2.10 (Fall 2003) Carnegie Council for Ethics in Int. Affairs, https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/publications/archive/dialogue/2_10/articles/1050
10. Nairobi Statement on ICPD25 (2019). Accelerating the Promise; Commitment 13 in ICDP25; https://www.nairobisummiticpd.org/content/icpd25-commitments; November.
11. National Council for Population Development, Kenya & UNFPA (2020). “Zero Harmful Practices – Accelerating the Promise of ICPD25, NCPDA state_of_kenya_population_report_2020.pdf
12. National Coordinating Agency for Population & Development (NCPAD) (2010). Policy Belief NO.9. June 2010, https://www.ncpd.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Policy-Brief-9-Maternal-Deaths-on-the-Rise-in-Kenya-A-Call-to-Save-Womens-Lives-1.pdf
13. Ndubi, M. (2016). “Dadaab Youth Determined to Fight FGM in her Community UNHCR, Kenya, https://www.unhcr.org/ke/1711-meet-a-young-woman-determined-to-end-fgm-in-dadaab.html
14. Nyangueso, S., Hayombe, P., & Owino, F. (2018). Spatial Equity in Devolved Healthcare: Geospatially Exploring Local Disparities in Maternal Healthcare Uptake After Devolution in Kenya in European; Scientific Journal September 2018 edition Vol.14, No.27 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431,P.379.
15. Oyieke, J. (2012). “Pregnant on the run far from home” in MSF Report on Maternal Deaths : The Avoidable Crises https://www.msf.ie/sites/ireland/files/maternal-death_-the-avoidable-crisis.pdf
16. Ofor, MO. & Ofole, N. (2015). Female Genital Mutilation: The place pf Culture and Debilitating Effects on the Dignity of the Female Gender; European Scientific Journal May 2015 edition vol.11, No.14 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e - ISSN 1857- 7431, P.116
17. Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (2011). No. 32, 30th Sept 2011,https://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/en/countries/africa/kenya/2011/prohibition-of-female-genital-mutilation-act--2011-
18. The Noble Quran; Qur’an (24:31) https://legacy.quran.com/24/31
19. UNICEF Data on Female Genital Mutilation; https://www.unicef.org/protection/female-genital-mutilation
20. UNHCR (2015). Health Information System Dadaab annual report 2015, unpublished OHCHR; Call for Submission FGM/Cutting ; https://www.ohchr.org › UN Agencies › UNHCR
21. UNICEF (2022). Female Genital Mutilation https://data.unicef.org/topic/child- protection/female-genital-mutilation/
22. Universal Declaration for Human Rights Article 25; https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/UDHR/Documents/UDHR_Translations/eng.pdf
23. World Data Information (2021). https://www.worlddata.info/refugees-by-country.php
24. World Health Report (2013). Research for Universal Health Coverage, ISBN 978 92 4 156459 5 https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/85761/9789240690837_eng.pdf;jsessionid=FE70A527FD6BFCA9167C65D46958052D?sequence=2
25. World Health Organization (2010). Global strategy to stop health-care providers from performing female genital mutilation; https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/who_rhr_10-9_en.pdf
26. World Health Organization (2012). Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990–2010. UNICEF, UNFPA, and the World Bank, Geneva.
How to Cite
Gitome, J., Kahumbi, N., Mainah, M., Kituku, J. M., Mwoma, T., Ndegwa, P., & Bagelman, J. (2023). Female Genital Mutilation: A Religio-cultural Sensitive Issue Determining Maternal Healthcare Choices among Somali Women in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 19(15), 16. https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2023.v19n15p16
ESJ Natural/Life/Medical Sciences

Most read articles by the same author(s)