RANZCOG’s FGM module was recently presented at an international symposium on FGM management and prevention at the Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland. The symposium was sponsored by the World Health Organization’s Human Reproduction Programme and the Universities of Geneva, Montreal and Brussels. Leading researchers, clinicians and program implementers from Europe, Africa and Australasia came together to share experiences and data concerning healthcare and prevention, evidence and consensus gaps and healthcare professional training and curricula. A/Profs Angela Dawson (University of Technology) and Nesrin Varol (University of Sydney), key members of the committee that developed RANZCOG’s FGM modules, represented Australia. Nesrin Varol presented the results of a recently published paper on the obstetric outcomes of women at an Australian hospital and Angela Dawson presented the results of two systematic reviews on health professional education and training on FGM and showcased RANZCOG’s education module.
The online RANZCOG module, made up of four units, introduces health professionals to the issue of FGM in Australia, outlines the sexual and reproductive health consequences of FGM and addresses the care and clinical support that women who have experienced FGM may require. Information to support education and advocacy is also provided. An evaluation has found the module to be relevant and applicable to clinical practice. In NSW, this training has been supported by clinical guidelines and a healthcare professional counselling aide.
I have only recently been made aware of this education package. As the Coordinator of The African Women’s Clinic at The Royal Women’s Hospital Melbourne (which I believe is the only nurse/midwife led clinic in Australia for women affected by FGM/C) I would have loved to have been involved. In The African Women’s Clinic we ( with the FARREP workers), educate and support women affected by FGM/C as well as perform de-infibulation for pregnant and non pregnant women in an outpatient setting under local anaesthetic. Women can self refer to this clinic and are normally seen within four weeks.