Female genital mutilation is hurting Australian girls and we must work together to stamp it out

The Conversation, February 9th, 2017

Female genital mutilation or cutting is largely hidden in Australia and other high-income countries. Most people don’t consider it a major issue. But our research shows it should be.

Our research found girls are presenting to paediatricians in Australia with female genital mutilation, but misconceptions about the practice are common and doctors want more information on how to manage this illegal practice.

  • Read more of article here 
  • Read Female genital mutilation and cutting: a systematic literature review of health professionals’ knowledge, attitudes and clinical practice (open access) here
  • Read Female genital mutilation in children presenting to Australian paediatricians (open access) here

 

Decision-making about infant feeding among African women living with HIV in the UK

“It pains me because as a woman you have to breastfeed your baby”: decision-making about infant feeding among African women living with HIV in the UK

Sex Transm Infect 2016;92:331-336 doi:10.1136/sextrans-2015-052224

Abstract

Objectives UK guidance advises HIV-positive women to abstain from breast feeding. Although this eliminates the risk of postnatal vertical transmission of HIV, the impact of replacement feeding on mothers is often overlooked. This qualitative study examines, for the first time in the UK, decision-making about infant feeding among African women living with HIV.

Methods Between 2010 and 2011, we conducted semistructured interviews with 23 HIV-positive African women who were pregnant or had recently given birth. We recruited participants from three HIV antenatal clinics in London.

Results Women highlighted the cultural importance of breast feeding in African communities and the social pressure to breast feed, also describing fears that replacement feeding would signify their HIV status. Participants had significant concerns about physical and psychological effects of replacement feeding on their child and felt their identity as good mothers was compromised by not breast feeding. However, almost all chose to refrain from breast feeding, driven by the desire to minimise vertical transmission risk. Participants’ resilience was strengthened by financial assistance with replacement feeding, examples of healthy formula-fed children and support from partners, family, peers and professionals.

Conclusions The decision to avoid breast feeding came at considerable emotional cost to participants. Professionals should be aware of the difficulties encountered by HIV-positive women in refraining from breast feeding, especially those from migrant African communities where breast feeding is culturally normative. Appropriate financial and emotional support increases women’s capacity to adhere to their infant-feeding decisions and may reduce the emotional impact.

Read article (open access) here

 

Tjina Maala Message Book For Families: Stories and support for carers of people with a disability

Tjina Maala Centre, WA, August 2015

The Pika Wiya Kuthupa project aims to investigate the needs of Aboriginal families caring for a child with a disability in the Goldfields region of Western Australia. The project established an Aboriginal community reference group, and during 2013 and 2014 conducted ‘storytelling circles’ community consultations. Aboriginal families caring for children with disabilities, schools, health and disability service representatives were invited to share their stories. Families identified the need for culturally appropriate information and support, and culturally safe models of service delivery. The project team is currently developing Aboriginal disability resources, and continues to raise the awareness of Aboriginal views of disability in the disability sector.

This resource is for Aboriginal families/careers of people with a disability. It provides information on disability, people’s response to disability, rights of people with disabilities, support services, the NDIS, and tips & suggestions. Please note that it does not directly address sexuality.

View this resource online here