Educating women and girls on female genital mutilation
Juliet Albert provides a first-hand account of her trip to a female genital mutilation refuge centre in Kenya
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a global healthcare problem affecting an estimated 200 million women and girls worldwide (World Health Organization, 2020). It is defined as ‘all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. I am an FGM specialist midwife and a FGM lead at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. In 1998, I first began campaigning to set up FGM services after attending a study day run by the Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development-one of the UK's leading charities campaigning against FGM. In 2007, I opened the Acton African Well Women Community clinic-the first community-based, midwife-led FGM service dedicated to non-pregnant women in the UK. I currently run the Sunflower clinics for pregnant and non-pregnant women at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital.
For the last two years, I have joined a group of professionals who make an annual trip to visit an FGM refuge centre in Amboseli, Kenya-close to the border with Tanzania in the foothills of Kilimanjaro. The FGM rescue centre is run by osteopath Navdeep Matharu. Navdeep set up the Divinity Foundation, a humanitarian NGO, in 2008 with the aim of protecting the rights of, and providing support to, abandoned, orphaned or impoverished children.
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