Ethiopia has managed to achieve the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 4 of reducing infant mortality although some regions still have high rates of neonatal mortality despite the massive deployment of midwives.
The reduction in infant mortality is threatened by female genital mutilation.
Local NGO’s like ACISDA have been raising awareness on the risk of this practice in the North-East of the country.
“The communities believe that female genital mutilation is an Islamic principle. So we are working with the leaders in each village to ensure that they are aware it is not a precept of Islam,” Asehnafi, co-founder of ACISDA said.
The communities have been responding positively to the message.
“I no longer practice excision. It is a bad practice. In fact we do wonder more. And I ask forgiveness to God for the small girls that I have ‘cut’ in the past, “ Madia, a traditional female genital mutilation specialist said.
After about two years of activity, the NGO officials claim they have reduced the rate of FGM in that region although this cannot be proven by figures.
According to 2011 statistics, about 127 out of 1000 children are affected by infant mortality in the Afar zone largely caused by female genital mutilation.