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Female genital mutilation victim welcome arrival of new clinic

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Health | Published:

A female genital mutilation (FGM) survivor has welcomed a new clinic expert care for victims.

Sarata Jabbi

The support centre, which opens on Monday, will be based at the Summerfield Primary Care Centre, in Heath Street, Winson Green, and be run by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.

Figures show that Birmingham has the highest rate of reported new cases of FGM, and in Sandwell and West Birmingham there were 310 cases in 2018/19.

Mother-of-four Sarata Jabbi, who was aged just seven when she underwent the horrific act in the Gambia, said the facility is “much-needed”.

Her parents took her and her sisters to have the procedure after buying them new clothes and telling them that they were going to a party. She has been raising awareness after coming to the UK in 2010.

Sarata said: “I think this is a much-needed clinic and will give so many victims a safe and confidential way to seek help. There are many women from the Gambia, Somali, Eritrea and other African countries that have suffered and desperately need treatment as a result of FGM.

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“It is a very good initiative and it shows that the NHS has recognised the importance of helping survivors and that the voices of the victims are being heard.

“Summerfield Primary Care Centre is a well-known venue and is easily accessible for many women from the communities where FGM is practised so I believe it will be a well-used clinic.”

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The clinic is one of eight to open across the UK, as announced by NHS England as part of its Long-Term Plan. It has been commissioned by Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Alison Byrne, specialist midwife for FGM who will be running the facility, said: “It is in the heart of the community and will help many women who sometimes are unsure about how to access care or treatment after undergoing this procedure.

“Figures recording the number of women who have had FGM are high. But there are many more out there who haven’t come forward or do not realise that they are a victim of FGM, as it is the norm within their culture.

“We want to really push out the message that this clinic is there for them to access and can be done so discreetly and in the strictest of confidence."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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