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Questions raised about prominent FGM campaigner

From BBC - September 5, 2017

A BBC Newsnight investigation has revealed a series of concerns about some aspects of the work of a celebrated FGM campaigner.

Comfort Momoh established one of the UK's first FGM clinics and has recently retired as a midwife from Guy's and St Thomas' Trust in London.

She has also received an MBE for her work in women's health.

But senior specialists have raised concerns about her credibility when it comes to examining children for FGM.

There are also suggestions Ms Momoh may be exaggerating her professional qualifications. She has repeatedly described herself as "Dr Momoh" - including on the website of Guys and St Thomas's hospital, but she is not a qualified medical doctor - instead, she has an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University.

A university spokesperson confirmed to Newsnight that this does not enable her to use the title "doctor".

Comfort Momoh has not responded to the BBC's request for comment.

When Newsnight approached the Nursing and Midwifery Council, who regulate midwives, for comment on their findings, they told the programme that a referral had been made about Comfort Momoh on 8 August which they are currently investigating.

The NMC said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on any specific details as the case is ongoing. There is no suggestion that this referral has anything to do with the concerns raised in Newsnight's reporting.

Female genital mutilation is a term given to all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitals or other injury to female genital organs where there are no medical reason.

It is usually carried out on girls under the age of 15, with most FGM done under the age of five, according to Unicef.

Newsnight understands that Comfort Momoh has examined children for FGM on at least five occasions, despite not having relevant qualifications.

Although Comfort Momoh is an expert in adult cases of FGM, serious questions have been raised about her competence to assess children - whose anatomy is different to that of adults.

In 2012, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health produced guidance with the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine, for the examination of child abuse victims, saying this should only be performed by a doctor with specialist training in children - which Ms Momoh is not understood to have.

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