Customs and traditions based on culture are practices, actions or way of doing things that have existed for a long time. These practices are often believed to have a benefit, in the case of female circumcision, it is believed that a woman who is circumcised become a better wife in that it limits the possibility of infidelity. Practitioners of female circumcision perceive it as an integral part of the female’s cleansing and preparation for marriage.
It is perceived as beneficial to a woman. However, medical knowledge identifies female circumcision as a practice that is detrimental to a woman’s health (Althaus, 1997). In the United States, female circumcision continues to be practiced because immigrants who believe in this tradition uphold the perception that such a practice is beneficial to the woman. For the CHN, there is a need to educate these practitioners of the detrimental effects of such a practice on health.
To address cultural practices that are disadvantageous or detrimental to health the best primary measure would be to provide education regarding these issues. The prevention of harmful practices is key to the community health practice and should be directed to “well” individuals (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2004). As such health promotion and education should start with local information campaign that educates about the occurrence of female circumcision as well as the negative effects it has on a woman’s long term health (Althaus, 1997).
This action provides specific protection to the community. An immediate goal should be to be able to communicate to these small cultural communities and inform their members of the dangers of their practice. Costello (2004) explained that educating these communities is the best method of protection. This information campaign should involve written materials, presentations, media, group process and peer support to provide many channels of communication to members of the community.
A principal goal should be to be able to disseminate information quickly and with great accessibility. The help of community leaders and figure heads should be sought for this information campaign. The challenge to the Western health practitioner is to be able to integrate Western medicine with non-Western traditions by involving community leaders and figure heads, the CHN gains credibility within the community and the introduction of new concepts can be better received (Bastable, 2007).
Secondary prevention involves identifying cases of individuals who have been subjected to female circumcision as well as individuals who are practitioners of female circumcision. According to Althaus (1997) the practice of female circumcision is rarely spoken of and if it occurs to a woman, the victim, normally does not want to talk about it. Secondary prevention should involve creating community centers or groups that can provide support to women who have undergone female circumcision, or who are in risk of it.
These centers or groups can help women deal with the physical and emotional consequences of undergoing such violent acts. As a second measure, an anonymous referral service should be established to create a channel where individuals can anonymously report the occurrence of female circumcision, individuals suspected of having undergone female circumcision or individuals who promote female circumcision. This helps the CHN identify individuals who may have physical or emotional needs due to female circumcision or individuals who are in risk of female circumcision.
Tertiary prevention should involve rehabilitating the persons who have undergone female circumcision as well as creating an alternative practice that achieves the same benefit as that perceived in the performance of female circumcision (BBC News, 1998). According to Althaus (1997) female circumcision was seen as passage into womanhood and preparation for marriage. In an effort to prevent the occurrence of female circumcision, an alternative initiation ritual can be introduced to take the place of female circumcision. Reference List Althaus, F. A. (1997). Female Circumcision: Right of Passage or Violation of Rights.
International Family Planning Perspectives, 23(3). Bastable, S. B. (2007). Nurse as Educator. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers. BBC News. (1998). Female Genital Mutilation. BBC News: World Edition. Retrieved March 20, 2009 from http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/health/medical_notes/241221. stm Costello, A. (2004, February 19). Two in U. S. Accused of Genital Mutilation. Women’s E News. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://www. womensenews. org/article. cfm/dyn/aid/1718 Stanhope, M. and Lancaster, J. (2004). Community and Public Health Nursing. St. Loius, Missouri: Mosby.
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