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Reporter named as one of 20 groundbreaking women in 2017 by national newspaper

PUBLISHED: 17:08 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:19 28 December 2017

Kath Sansom has launched a campaign against a gynaecology operation in which a TVT sling is used. Picture: HELEN DRAKE

Kath Sansom has launched a campaign against a gynaecology operation in which a TVT sling is used. Picture: HELEN DRAKE

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Campaigning reporter Kath Sansom has been named as one of 20 groundbreaking women of 2017 in an end of year round up in The Independent newspaper.

Kath Sansom being interviewed by Sky News at Parliament Green. Sling The Mesh. Picture: HARRY RUTTERKath Sansom being interviewed by Sky News at Parliament Green. Sling The Mesh. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

Kath joins actress Rose McGowan, who was among the first to speak out against disgraced director Harvey Weinstein, Chelsea striker Eni Aluko - who campaigns against racism in football - and the Women of the White Helmets peace movement in Syria.

Kath was named after running the Sling The Mesh campaign for two-and-a-half years.

Starting with just a handful of women on the Facebook support page, there are now more than 5,000 members who join for information and support on mesh implants used to fix prolapse, incontinence and hernias.

Kath said: “It is an honour to be among so many great women. This is testament to how one small person can make a big difference if you keep going in what you know is the right thing to do.”

Independent journalist Harriet Marsden, who compiled the list, said: “The past few years have seen the ‘biggest health scandal since thalidomide’ blown wide open, and nobody has done more to expose the truth than Kath Sansom.

“In 2015, after she received a vaginal mesh implant to treat mild incontinence after babies, she suffered agonising pain and knew something was wrong.

“She began to do some research online, and stumbled into a world of pain and ignored suffering: what would become known as the vaginal mesh scandal.

“As she herself wrote: ‘It probably needed a journalist to be mesh injured, to provide the final media push needed for the issue to get to Westminster.’”

Since major removal surgery and particularly this year, Kath has used her extensive research to bring the scandal to light, keeping it in the national news agenda and tirelessly campaigning.

That had prompted a House of Commons debate and now a specialist Parliamentary think tank on mesh, for which she is the formal advisor.

Harriet said: “To the thousands of men and women injured by hernia and vaginal mesh implants, Sansom is more than a campaigner - she’s a lifesaver. And if her activism leads to a full ban on mesh implants, that’s exactly what she’ll be.”

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