City midwife flies to Kenya to tackle outlawed custom

A campaign poster against Female Genital Mutilation.
A campaign poster against Female Genital Mutilation.

A midwife from Lancaster has travelled to Africa to help the fight against a dangerous form of female circumcision.

Ruth Davies will spend three weeks in Ortum, Kitale, Kenya, helping to educate young women on the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Up to 140m women and girls worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.

An accepted right of passage amongst some African communities, FGM involves the partial or total removal of female genitalia for non-medical reasons - sometimes to assist with childbirth.

It is typically carried out with a knife or razor to babies and girls, without anaesthetic.

The United Nations has pledged to end the practice and it has been outlawed in many countries as it can lead to serious health problems including haemorrhage, shock, sepsis, psychological trauma and even death.

Ruth is working in Kenya alongside Cath Holland, a midwife from Grange-over-Sands.

“Over 1,000 girls we have worked with have been diverted from FGM,” said Ruth. “Now we want to take the project out to more remote areas where there are no schools and hospitals.”

Last year, Cath’s sister Geraldine Holland, from Morecambe, had her head shaved to raise money for Beyond FGM, a charity set up by Cath aiming to give girls an alternative right of passage at puberty.