FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) Health Support for Non-Pregnant Women: Evaluation Findings From the NHS Pilot Programme
Keywords:Evaluation, FGM (non-pregnant women), Women, Health Service Pilot, Models of Practice
There has been little progress in meeting the needs of non-pregnant women with FGM, who might seek medical help in the UK. The NHS funded eight FGM clinics for non-pregnant women across England, 2019-2021. The aim of our evaluation was to test how effective/capable these clinics were in meeting the health and wellbeing needs of women who are not pregnant but have experienced FGM. Our evaluation documented each of the various models of service delivery across the eight commissioned delivery sites, capturing evidence of what works to improve the health and wellbeing of women using these services. Within this we explored the importance of delivering clinics within community settings. We also examined the effectiveness of various staff roles (lead clinician, health advocate and therapist) across each clinic to understand the holistic approach used to deliver services. We captured the views of a small number of service users through individual interviews, to include their lived experiences of FGM and attending the clinic in our data. The main aim of the evaluation was to determine whether the clinics improved the health outcomes of non-pregnant survivors of FGM.
This paper presents findings from the qualitative research component of the evaluation. Drawing upon interview data from 42 professionals as well as 12 service users, we summarise our key findings here. We detail the model of support (community service delivery, with trusted professionals, creating a safe space) and the learning gained from the pilot implementation. Positive outcomes include improved health and well-being for women (mental and physical health improvements). Challenges in service delivery included language barriers, how professionals reach into communities, the stigma associated with FGM as an experience, and mental health problems arising from FGM.
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