This is an article taken from Health It Central, with the source from the British Journal Healthcare Computing. 

An app has been designed to allow health professionals and their patients to discuss the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Joanne McEwan, a public health nurse at the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHNFT) said: “Good communication and an understanding of the cultural and language differences are critical factors for health professionals if they are to win the trust of their clients and patients.”

An app to facilitate talks about FGM between clinicians, nurses and the people they serve is currently being tested across Oxfordshire.

The project to test the app is being led by Joanne McEwan, a public health nurse at the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHNFT).

FGM affects about 137,000 girls and women in the UK, although the figures are yet to be confirmed.

McEwan said: “Good communication and an understanding of the cultural and language differences are critical factors for health professionals if they are to win the trust of their clients and patients.

“FGM is a very sensitive subject, and a health professional can find it difficult to open up a discussion in case they alienate their client.”

Due to these difficulties, McEwan initiated the development of the Let’s Talk FGM app at OHNFT. The iPad app is currently being tested by 400 of the Trust’s health professionals and community workers across the county.

Health professionals use the app in their sessions, to enquire sensitively about FGM, identify girls and women at risk of cutting and point FGM survivors in the right direction towards care and support.

McEwan gained funding for the project via the Mary Seacole Leadership Award, which values outstanding work in the black and minority ethnic community in the U.K.

She then worked with Oxford Against Cutting, a local campaign group, as well as Oxford Health and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trusts, to put together the details for the app.

The app’s content includes key information in five different languages about the impact of FGM, why it happens, the law and how to keep children safe, as well as providing local support for survivors.

It also includes video interviews with FGM survivors, campaigners and health professionals.

McEwan added: “This resource will give health professionals the information they need, and therefore build their confidence, to clearly explain the issues around FGM in the client’s cultural context.

“It is designed essentially as a client-led communication tool which does not contain any client/patient data. My aim is that it will remove uncertainties, providing practical and current guidance for both clients and professionals.”