Community launch for FGM paediatric clinic 

10/12/2014 00:00 
Leaders from medicine, women’s charities and cultural groups joined together this morning to formally launch UCLH’s (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s) female genital mutilation (FGM) paediatric clinic.

UCLH’s Dr Deborah Hodes and Professor Sarah Creighton were joined by Ubah Egal from Camden Somali Cultural Centre, and Naana Otoo-Oyortey MBE, executive director of Forward, the African women’s-led charity dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African girls and women.

The clinic began its work at UCLH’s Elizabeth Garrett Anderson wing in September, with the aim of giving medical treatment and psychological help to girls aged from 0 to 18 who have suffered mutilation or who may be at risk, either in the UK or overseas. The clinic provides expert advice to help girls who are at risk, and means that assessment can be made of whether FGM has been performed along with the appropriate documentation, including witness statements and availability for court.

Part of the clinic’s role is to foster and maintain strong links with partners in social care and community groups, to ensure that those girls and women at risk can access the help and support available.

The launch event, at Kentish Town Health Centre, looked at the need for a dedicated clinic and legal implications, as well as how communities and partners can contribute to help shape the service and discussion around FGM.

Ubah Egal, director and social work lead for Camden Somali Cultural Centre, said: “We need to work together to educate practicing communities if we are to eradicate FGM within a generation. I believe that if we can build strong partnerships between UCLH, community groups and statutory services, then we will give women and men from all communities hope that FGM can be tackled head-on.”

Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive, said: “This clinic has been launched to address the need to help victims of FGM with support from the best clinicians, in the right surroundings. The physical and psychological effects of FGM can be awful, and the long-term health implications severe.

“We’re delighted that local community groups are launching the clinic today and we want to work with them, social care and the police  to prevent FGM happening to others and to help raise awareness of the practice and provide the right support here at UCLH.”

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