The 2007 public call for tenders for initiatives to combat FGM was especially effective at the local level of project implementation. Research findings (including interviews, focus groups, meetings and questionnaires) resulted in a widely disseminated series of publications and reports, as well as informing policy choices. Moreover, many projects combined research, training and awareness-raising components, significantly increasing the scale of circulation.
The experience of Lazio’s Dipartimento salute donna e bambino dell’Ospedale San Camillo – Forlanini di Roma is of particular interest, offering practical insights into the care of women suffering complications related to reproductive health, obstetric problems during pregnancy and childbirth, and/or sexual/relationship problems as a consequence of FGM. The department, which has been appointed Regional Reference Centre for the treatment of medical and surgical complications resulting from FGM, offers deinfibulation procedures at patients’ request, as well as training for health care professionals and social workers.
Rome’s Istituto Nazionale per la promozione della salute delle popolazioni Migranti e per il contrasto delle malattie della Povertà (INMP) is also of interest, offering health care for women with FGM, as well as carrying out research and training.
In Tuscany, the Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi di Firenze together with the Centro di Riferimento Regionale per la Prevenzione e la Cura delle Complicanze delle MGF (CRR-FGM) offers healthcare to women who have undergone FGM. Services include deinfibulation surgery, which is performed using a holistic approach that takes account of legal and cultural aspects, including in-depth work with the patient to increase their knowledge, information, health education and parenthood education (i.e. prevention of FGM in daughters), in addition to aesthetic/psychological/sexological/urological results, in accordance with Law 7/2006.
The deinfibulation procedure is conducted according to protocol and in line with a specific regional code, requiring that the procedure is fully understood by the patient and that informed consent is given. The Hospital’s FGM Centre’s staff can also draw on a multidisciplinary network of volunteers (including social workers, psychologists, sexologists and obstetricians, as well as students of medicine, obstetrics, nursing, sociology, anthropology, etc.). The Centre also collaborates with a network of clinics, paediatricians and family physicians, in addition to cultural and religious associations (NOSOTRAS) and various migrant communities.
In addition, the Centre conducts training and research at the national, regional and international level.
In Lombardy, the Cooperativa Crinali Sociale Onlus has been working since 2000 to establish a multidisciplinary regional reference centre for the prevention and treatment of FGM at two hospitals in Milan (San Paolo and San Carlo Borromeo). The project has resulted in a network of local services (sexual and reproductive health centres) at other hospitals in Milan, as well as child neuropsychiatry services, services for adolescents and schools, local psychiatric centres, NGOs and voluntary work. The Cooperative is part of the GrIS (Gruppi Immigrazione Salute) and regional SIMM (Società Italiana di Medicina delle Migrazioni) networks.
The region of Piedmont has implemented a training project for preventing and combating FGM for social and health professionals and NGO staff, with 400 participants in 2010 and 300 in 2015.
A 2011-13 study of migrant women and social and health professionals in Umbria resulted in a two-year (2014-15) training programme for social, health and teaching professionals involving some 200 professionals in 100 hours of training. In addition, awareness-raising activities were carried out with key stakeholders, including teachers, students, health and social professionals, families, administrators and policymakers. In 2014 the Centro Umbro di Riferimento per lo Studio e la Prevenzione delle MGF was established at the headquarters of the Fondazione Angelo Celli, offering support to professionals as well as guidance to services and counselling to women and families. The centre is managed by a team of anthropologists and leads a reference network for FGM, comprised of health professionals, experts and institutions providing an integrated response to complex cases.
In Emilia Romagna, numerous activities have been carried out, such as research projects, training courses at health and social care facilities and schools, awareness-raising activities across the region, including theatrical and art performances, debates, book presentations, conferences and seminars for the public and/or specialist groups. (For an overview of FGM-related activities carried out in Emilia Romagna and Italy as a whole, see Rete dei Consultori della Regione Emilia Romagna).
Activities financed under the second NAP by the Equal Opportunities Department/Conferenza Stato-Regioni are still being carried out in various regions.