by Julie Gough
|Education||BSc (2002), women's healthcare, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London.|
|Known for||Working with FGM survivors|
Comfort Iyabo Amah Momoh, MBE (born c. 1962) is a British midwife who specializes in the treatment of female genital mutilation (FGM). Born in Nigeria, Momoh is a member of the British FGM national clinical group, established in 2007 to train health professionals in how to deal with the practice. Until 2017 she served as a public-health specialist at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London. She is the editor of Female Genital Mutilation (2005).
Early life and education
In 1981 she moved to the UK to train as a nurse at North Middlesex Hospital. It was at Middlesex that she first studied FGM, which is not practised by her tribe in Nigeria. In 2002 she obtained a BSc in women's healthcare from the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London. She received a Florence Nightingale Foundation scholarship in 2007 to conduct research into FGM in Africa, and in 2015 the foundation awarded her a travel scholarship to visit the United States to study their approach to FGM.
In 1997 Momoh set up the African Well Women's Clinic at St Thomas's Hospital, dedicated to caring for women affected by FGM. As of 2013 the clinic was seeing around 300 women a year and performing two defibulation operations a week, which involves opening a vagina sewn shut as a result of FGM Type III.
Momoh worked as a temporary adviser to the World Health Organization in 1999 and represented the UK at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2001. From around 2007 she worked as a public-health specialist at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, before retiring in 2017. Momoh also runs Global Comfort Ltd., a private consultancy. She was included in 2014 in the London Evening Standard's list of 1000 most influential people in London.
In the 2008 New Year Honours, Momoh was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to women's healthcare. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University in 2008. In 2011 she won a Gathering of Africa's Best (GAB) award. She was chosen as 2015 Alumna of the Year by King's College London, and in 2016 she was awarded a fellowship by the Royal College of Midwives.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council confirmed in September 2017 that it had received a complaint about Momoh. That month, BBC Newsnight suggested that the weight given by the authorities in the UK to the physical examination of girls for FGM was causing trauma to children who had not in fact experienced it. Families were fearful of being accused and split up. The programme raised questions about the examination of at least five children by Momoh. Since 2012 the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has required that child-abuse victims be examined by specialist doctors. Newsnight reported that Momoh had been referring to herself as "Dr", although her doctorate is an honorary one, not a medical degree, and that during a 2014 court case, the judge, James Munby, had criticized her evidence as unreliable.
Momoh responded that she had done nothing wrong and had nothing to hide. Nimco Ali, an anti-FGM activist, told The Times: "Comfort has led work to end FGM for over 30 years and has enriched the lives of countless women and girls. Attempts at character assassination of such a great woman [are] shameful."
- (2004). Comfort Momoh. "Female genital mutilation", Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Dec;16(6):477-80. PMID 15534443
- (2005). Comfort Momoh (ed.) Female Genital Mutilation, Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing, 2005.
- (2010). Comfort Momoh. "Female genital mutilation: a global and local concern", Pract Midwife. 2010 Apr;13(4):12-4. PMID 20476610
- (2010). Comfort Momoh. "A day in the life of ... a female genital mutilation/public health specialist", Midwives. 2010 Aug:50. PMID 24888058
- (2010). Susan Bewley, Sarah Creighton, and Comfort Momoh. "Female genital mutilation", BMJ. 2010 Jun 2;340:c2728. doi:10.1136/bmj.c2728. PMID 20519272
- (2014). Katherine A. Zakhour and Comfort Momoh. "Female genital mutilation", in Maureen Dalton (ed.). Forensic Gynaecology. Cambridge University Press, 142–147.
- (2016). Maria Luisa Amasanti, Mendinaro Imcha, and Comfort Momoh. "Compassionate and Proactive Interventions by Health Workers in the United Kingdom: A Better Approach to Prevent and Respond to Female Genital Mutilation?", PLOS Medicine, 13(3), 22 March, e1001982. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001982 PMC 4803291
- (2016). Comfort Momoh, Olamide Olufade, and Patrice Redman-Pinard. "What nurses need to know about female genital mutilation", British Journal of Nursing, 2016 May 12-25;25(9):S30-4. doi:10.12968/bjon.2016.25.9.S30 PMID 27172505
- Lucy Bannerman, "FGM campaigner Comfort Momoh hits back at attack on her qualifications", The Times, 6 September 2017.
- Lucy Bannerman, "Mutilated, scarred by FGM — Dr Comfort will heal the wounds", The Times, 2 April 2014 (courtesy link).
- "Comfort Momoh: a carer and campaigner", King's College London, December 2014.
- "Our Team", FGM National Clinical Group.
- "Questions raised about prominent FGM campaigner", BBC News, 5 September 2017.
- "‘Girls born here can say no to being cut — so families are doing it to them as babies’", London Evening Standard, 6 March 2013.
- Miriam Dalli, "Maltese doctors facing up to reality of female circumcision in pregnant refugees", Malta Today, 28 July 2010.
- "Influencing Practice Locally, Nationally and Internationally", Florence Nightingale Foundation Alumni Association Magazine, 2, Autumn/Winter 2015, p. 6.
- Dan Howard "On The Frontline: Tackling FGM in a Western Country", WomenPolice, International Association of Women Police, May 2012 – July 2013.
- "Comfort Momoh lecture series". The Royal Women's Hospital, Australia. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011.
- "Top women named as health inspirations", Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, 10 July 2014.
- Jess Frampton (18 June 2013). "From taboo to talking point – an eye-opening insight into Female Genital Mutilation". UN Women. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014.
- "Female genital mutilation (FGM) clinic at Guy's and St Thomas'". Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. March 2015. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
- "About us", Global Comfort.
- "London's stars are a global force for good", London Evening Standard. Archived 21 October 2014.
- "FGM midwife in London's Top 1000", Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, 17 October 2014.
- Suzi Dixon, "Health and beauty: New Year Honours", The Daily Telegraph, 31 December 2007.
- "GAB-Awards-winning midwife honoured for FGM work", Trumpet Media Group, 27 July 2016.
- "Dr Comfort Momoh, King’s Alumna of the Year 2015", King's College London, December 2015.
- "London midwife receives national midwifery honour for FGM work", Royal College of Midwives, 27 July 2016.
- "'I knew my children hadn't had FGM'", BBC Newsnight, 5 September 2017.