Yesterday I returned to a hospital where I worked many years ago. I used to gaze across the Thames from the window at St Thomas’ to the Houses of Parliament, not knowing they would have much direct relevance to me. More particularly, I used to watch the barges plying up and down the river. What was never on my mind, because I did not know about it, was female genital mutilation (FGM). But now I do. And that owes much to those whom I met today, and to those who have battled on this cause for years, to rid the world of FGM within a generation.
One of those women is Comfort Momoh, an FGM Consultant and Public Health Specialist who back in 1997 established the African Well Woman’s Clinic at Guy’s and St Thomas’. Today this is the busiest FGM clinic in the UK, seeing up to 400 women a year, undertaking reversals, delivering infants, and advising other clinics round the country. Comfort is still at the helm – and as she explained, to many women her very name was a reassurance to them. It seemed right that on my first FGM visit as International Development Minister, it was to Comfort and her clinic that I should go.
The full blog is here