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WIRF is one of Australia's leading organisations that is dedicated to improving the health of women and infants.

New resource in the fight against FGM


The launch of a new educational resource is providing new hope in the fight against a catastrophic abuse of human rights that significantly harms the physical and mental health of millions of girls and women worldwide.

The Women & Infants Research Foundation (WIRF), in partnership with the Women and Newborn Health Service (WHNS), have launched the Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation (FGC/M) Flip Chart at a special event to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (6 February).

Female genital cutting/mutilation involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to FGM; a practice which has no health benefits. Treatment of health complications of FGM in 27 high prevalence countries costs $1.8 billion per year.

Project lead and Women’s Health Coordinator (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse), WNHS, Dr Carol Kaplanian explained the critical need to better support clinicians in their antenatal conversations with women affected by FGC/M.

“Women and girls living with FGC/M face serious risks to their health and well-being. These include immediate consequences after being cut, such as infections, bleeding or psychological trauma,” she said.

“The Flip Chart is the first resource of its kind in WA, and will assist clinicians working with young girls and pregnant women to diagnose and classify FGC/M so that appropriate treatment can be provided. It will also facilitate health workers to have conversations with women about any domestic violence concerns and other important family issues.”

WIRF’s Chief Operations Director, Deb Portughes said she hoped the resource would play a key role in combating the increasing burden of FGM in Western Australia and nationally.

“It is abhorrent to know that women who have undergone the procedure are more likely to experience life-threatening complications during childbirth, mental health disorders, or suffer chronic infections,” she said.

“We are proud to partner with the Women and Newborn Health Service and King Edward Memorial Hospital on this incredibly important project and in doing so, align ourselves with the World Health Organization in its opposition to all forms of FGC/M.”

The Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation Flip Chart is being piloted in seven hospitals and clinics across WA and will be distributed for state-wide use together with a tailored training package after the pilot initiative.



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Women and Infants Research Foundation
Carson House, King Edward Memorial Hospital
374 Bagot Road, Subiaco, WA 6008

Telephone: 08 6458 1437
Fax: 08 6458 1642
Email: info@wirf.com.au

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