World Health Organisation partners with Hallam to implement new FGM guidelines

16th March 2017

Sheffield Hallam University is set to welcome some of Europe's top healthcare experts as it hosts the World Health Organisation's (WHO) consultation on new guidelines around female genital mutilation (FGM).

Academics from the University together with 39 representatives from 14 countries will discuss the recently published WHO guidelines on the management of health complications from FGM during a two-day consultation which starts today (Thursday 16 March). Plans on how to implement the guidelines and develop training materials for healthcare providers across Europe will also be considered. Hora Soltani, professor of maternal and infant health in Hallam's Centre for Health and Social Care Research, said: "It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of women and girls living in Europe have been exposed to and/or are at risk of female genital mutilation. "FGM has been a totally unknown phenomenon for health care professionals in Europe, and in Eastern Europe in particular; however, recently published information confirms that hundreds of girls have been forced to undergo FGM in countries such as Russia and Georgia. "Sheffield Hallam University has a vast amount of expertise across a range of healthcare professions and including maternal and infant health, and WHO's decision to host their expert consultation here and have our academics' input into how these guidelines should be implemented, is a significant reflection on the quality of expertise we have at Hallam. "I am honoured to be in a position where we can contribute towards improving the wellbeing of women across the continent and the rest of the world." Dr Gunta Lazdane, programme manager for sexual and reproductive health in the World Health Organisation's Regional Office for Europe, said: "Sheffield Hallam University is working with and is expanding networks in this area and there are not that many universities and WHO collaborating centres that are working with specific target groups after FGM. "However, Sheffield Hallam has conducted a lot of research on vulnerable women and women from migrant backgrounds and the principles of their research are very much in line with the principles of the WHO and so it was a logical choice to hold our consultation here in Sheffield. "This may well be the first event but it's not going to be the last and Professor Soltani and her team will be supporting us in the future in these types of activities." The conference is being hosted by Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with WHO headquarters and its Regional Office for Europe and will be held at the University's Charles Street building. The newly launched guidelines are in line with the recently adopted strategy on women's health and well-being in the WHO European region and the Action Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health.

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