An anti-female genital mutilation campaigner who worked with Call The Midwife on a storyline has launched a fund-raising drive to help cut maternal mortality rates in Somaliland.
Nimco Ali, the co-founder of non-profit organisation Daughters of Eve, was the victim of FGM as a child and worked closely with show bosses on the BBC drama series.
An estimated 200 million girls around the world have been put through the procedure, which involves the partial or total removal of parts of the female genitals for non-medical reasons.
Sunday night’s episode of Call The Midwife will highlight the plight of a Nadifa – a pregnant woman who is fighting for her life in the aftermath of an FGM procedure.
In December, Nimco travelled to Somaliland, where Nadifa is from, and met doctors who said women and babies were dying during childbirth due to a loss of blood.
She has pledged to raise £10,000 to help fund a blood bank to improve the country’s maternal mortality rate which is currently one of the worst in the world, according to Unicef.
Nimco, who has set up a GoFundMe page, said: “While in Somaliland I met Hassan Ali a young doctor at Borama Regional Public Hospital in who is on the front line.
“This young man along with his colleagues are losing women and their babies principally due to blood lost. Something Nadifa in Call The Midwife could have also passed away from if access to blood was not available on the NHS.”
“I’m helping Hassan raise £10,000 to provide a basic blood bank to help him and his colleagues help more mums give birth and survive,” she added.
The episode of Call The Midwife is set against the terror of the Cuban missile crisis, as the sisters of Nonnatus House listen to US president John F Kennedy’s ultimatum to Russian president Nikita Khrushchev.
Jessica Neuwirth, founder of international women’s group Donor Direct Action, said it is “fantastic” that the programme and others, including Casualty and Law And Order, are bringing the issue into the mainstream.
The show’s creator Heidi Thomas has previously said she wanted to write about FGM for a long time but had to wait until the timeline of the show reached the 1960s.