By May 19, 2014 Read More →

First Specialist Service for Treatment of FGM

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Specialised support and care is now available to girls and women in Ireland who have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM). The service is the first of its kind in the country and will be lead by the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) in its clinic at 5/7 Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin 1, with the support of the HSENational Social Inclusion Office and AkiDwA – the Migrant Women’s Network.

According to Minister White: “For the first time in Ireland, we have a primary care service which will provide specialised care and support to women and girls affected by FGM in our community. This is an important step forward in the Government’s commitment to address the issue, following on from the National Plan of Action in 2008 and criminal legislation enacted in 2012. This service also reaffirms the importance of developing the capacity of our primary health care services.”

The specialist service is based at the IFPA Cathal Brugha Street Clinic in Dublin city centre and will offer high quality medical care and professional counselling. The service can be accessed by a weekly four hour drop in clinic. Appointments can also be made through a dedicated phone line or referrals from GPs, hospitals and other health providers.

Also speaking at today’s opening was IFPA Medical Director Dr Caitriona Henchion said: “As a lead sexual health provider and women’s health advocate, the IFPA has seen how women and girls who have undergone FGM often face additional barriers to getting the specific health care they need. This service directly responds to these challenges and is to be greatly welcomed.”

“Women and girls can now access medical and psychological care of international standards. We will also provide clients with wider sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception advice, cancer screening and menopause check-ups,” added Dr Henchion.

Diane Nurse, HSE National Lead for Social Inclusion, highlighted the importance of the partnership approach involved in this initiative.  According to Ms Nurse: “This service marks a significant milestone in our efforts to address FGM and fulfils commitments contained in the HSE National Intercultural Health Strategy on responding to the health needs of minority groups. The holistic approach of this service towards the care of women and girls who have undergone FGM will facilitate early intervention in a primary care setting and therefore reduce long term health implications.”

Dr Comfort Momoh (MBE), FGM and Public Health Specialist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, who opened one of the first FGM clinics in the UK in 1997, was also present at the opening.  Dr Momoh said: “FGM is illegal in the UK but there are still many girls at risk. While criminal legislation is important, it is not sufficient by itself. Specialist support and care must also be provided by health professionals. The opening of Ireland’s first FGM specialist service is another great step forward and I wish all three partners involved the very best.”

The service will be promoted by the IFPA and AkiDwA through a series of outreach activities on women’s health among migrant communities. Information on the service will also be provided to GPs, hospitals and other health care providers.

Director of AkiDwA Salome Mbugua stated: “FGM is a serious human rights violation which affects over 3,700 girls and women in Ireland. This new service means that these women and girls now have access to the specialist care they need which will greatly improve their overall quality of life. Today is a landmark step in addressing the very real issue of FGM in our country.”

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