The Desert Flower Foundation is currently active in 12 European countries. One of our offices is set in Stockholm (Solna), in Sweden. Desert Flower Foundation Scandinavia is in close co-operation with Karolinska Institutet that is renowned and responsible for awarding the Nobel Prize in Psychology or Medicine. One of the prominent doctors of Karolinska Institutet, a reconstructive plastic surgeon, Hannes Sigurjónsson is also one of the founders and an expert of DFF Scandinavia.
The Team working at Karolinska University Hospital has already successfully operated the first women, victims of FGM.
We asked him about conducted operations as well as the goals and work of Desert Flower Foundation Scandinavia.
You can read the short interview here:
- How many women have you successfully operated on?
Six women have been operated with clitoral reconstruction done alongside other procedures like defibulation, removal of scar tissue and correction of the urethral opening that is sometimes injured during FGM.
- Are most of these women from Somalia or from other parts of Africa?
The majority of patients are from the Horn of Africa, mostly Somalia and Eritrea, but also from countries in West Africa.
- You are the co-founder of the Desert Flower Foundation Scandinavia. When are you planning to start the work of the Foundation?
Preparation and planning of the efforts of DFF Scandinavia have been taking place the last six months. Included in our team are professionals with a wide background; reconstructive plastic surgeons, gynaecologists, sexologists, psychotherapists, a lawyer, an entrepreneur and a specialist in international relations and last but not least survivors of FGM.
- How do the women find out about the service, e.g. media, referral from health service or community?
After word got out that we had done the first reconstruction in Scandinavia at Karolinska University Hospital we had a huge national and international media attention. After that we have been contacted directly by the women but also from well informed health professionals like gynaecologists and family doctors. The main agenda of Desert Flower Foundation Scandinavia will be to reach out to sufferers of FGM directly as well as the public and to work prophylactically for girls at risk of being mutilated. A second main emphasis of the foundation is to raise awareness and knowledge of health professionals in Sweden and internationally with seminars and hands-on training.