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Questions raised about prominent FGM campaigner

A BBC Newsnight investigation has revealed a collection of considerations about some elements of the work of a celebrated FGM campaigner.

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

She has additionally acquired an MBE for her work in women’s health.

But senior specialists have raised considerations about her credibility in terms of analyzing youngsters for FGM.

There are additionally ideas Ms Momoh could also be exaggerating her skilled qualifications. She has repeatedly described herself as “Dr Momoh” – together with on the web site of Guys and St Thomas’s hospital, however she just isn’t a professional medical physician – as an alternative, she has an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University.

A college spokesperson confirmed to Newsnight that this doesn’t allow her to make use of the title “doctor”.

Comfort Momoh has not responded to the BBC’s request for remark.

When Newsnight approached the Nursing and Midwifery Council, who regulate midwives, for touch upon their findings, they informed the programme that a referral had been made about Comfort Momoh on eight August which they’re at present investigating.

The NMC stated it will be “inappropriate” to touch upon any particular particulars because the case is ongoing. There is not any suggestion that this referral has something to do with the considerations raised in Newsnight’s reporting.

Female genital mutilation is a time period given to all procedures that contain partial or complete removing of the exterior feminine genitals or different damage to feminine genital organs the place there are not any medical purpose.

It is often carried out on women underneath the age of 15, with most FGM finished underneath the age of 5, based on Unicef.

Newsnight understands that Comfort Momoh has examined youngsters for FGM on no less than 5 events, regardless of not having related qualifications.

Although Comfort Momoh is an professional in grownup instances of FGM, critical questions have been raised about her competence to evaluate youngsters – whose anatomy is totally different to that of adults.

In 2012, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health produced steerage with the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine, for the examination of kid abuse victims, saying this could solely be carried out by a physician with specialist coaching in youngsters – which Ms Momoh just isn’t understood to have.

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Comfort Momoh was awarded an MBE for her work in 2008

In a courtroom case involving a toddler who was alleged to have had FGM in Leeds in 2014 through which Comfort Momoh did give proof, the decide concerned stated she merited “harsh criticism” and had “difficulty in providing answers even about the even the simplest factual question”.

She initially stated – after examination – that the appropriate labia seemed to be lacking in one of many women and stated the kid had been subjected to “some form of FGM”.

But in oral proof in courtroom, Comfort Momoh modified her findings.

Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, described her report as “a remarkably shoddy piece of work” and “worse than useless”. He stated she was “not a reliable witness”.

Judge Munby concluded, there was not sufficient proof to recommend the kid had had FGM, after the examination was reviewed by an professional.

Comfort Momoh was considered one of two key skilled witnesses in one other high-profile case in 2015 – the primary of its type – through which a physician was taken to courtroom within the UK for allegedly finishing up FGM.

She was dropped as a witness simply earlier than the trial. It is unclear why. A jury acquitted the accused after lower than half an hour of deliberations.

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Doctor Dhanuson Dharmasena was discovered not responsible of performing FGM

Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation – the place Comfort Momoh has labored as a midwife for 20 years – stated she had just lately retired.

They stated this had been deliberate for a while, and was “not linked to issues raised by Newsnight”.

A authorities spokesperson stated: “Female genital mutilation is a horrific act of abuse which this government is working to tackle.”

They added: “We have additionally revealed complete requirements of what we anticipate in delivering FGM care in youngsters beneath the age of 18.

“In this we clarify that these analyzing youngsters are docs, and that they want paediatric competencies and applicable expertise.”

More on this story on BBC Newsnight at 22:30 on BBC Two

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