Comfort Momoh (Women’s Healthcare, 2002) is a celebrated campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM) who graduated from the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery at King’s and was chosen as Alumna of the Year in the King’s Awards in 2015.
Comfort served as a temporary adviser to the World Health Organization in 1999 and represented the UK at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2001. She worked as a midwife for 20 years at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London and it was here that she set up one of the first FGM clinics in the country, in 1997. From around 2007, she worked as a public health specialist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and, in 2008, she received an MBE for her work in and services to women’s health.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, to a Nigerian-Ghanaian family, Comfort moved to the UK in 1981 to train as a nurse at North Middlesex Hospital. It was here that she first studied FGM, which is not practised by her tribe in Nigeria, and, in 2007, she received a Florence Nightingale Foundation scholarship to conduct research into FGM in Africa, with a travel scholarship awarded in 2015 for her to visit the United States to study their approach to FGM. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University in 2008.
By 2013, the African Well Women’s Clinic at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust was seeing around 300 women a year, offering counselling, advice, support and surgical reversal of FGM. As a result of this pioneering work, Comfort was awarded the first ever title of Nurse or Midwife of the Year by the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust in 2003, and, in 2016, she was the first FGM specialist to be awarded a fellowship by the Royal College of Midwives.
Since retiring in 2017, Comfort has continued to work as a consultant in the field, providing training, workshops, seminars and conferences, raising awareness on the health issues of FGM and campaigning for the eradication of the practice. She has also edited a book (Female Genital Mutilation, 2005) on the subject.
Comfort has chaired Black Women’s Health and Family Support (a non-governmental organisation working in the community) and was Vice President for EURONET (European Network on FGM). In 2011, she won a Gathering of Africa’s Best (GAB) award, and, in 2014, she was a recipient of the Nigerian Centenary Awards’ 100 Outstanding Nigerians currently living or who have lived in the United Kingdom over the past 100 years for her contribution to public service. In 2014, she was included in the Evening Standard’s list of the 1,000 most influential people in London.