LUXEMBOURG, June 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
- EUR5m committed by Fondation Espoir for an ambitious FGM/C prevention and care programme to 2020
- 2,200 victims treated to date by 2 doctors hired by the programme
- 650 new cases monthly in two of the most affected regions of Ethiopia
Fondation Espoir, a foundation under the aegis of the Fondation de Luxembourg, is half-way through a ground-breaking five-year programme designed to help eliminate female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in Ethiopia.
Significant results were delivered in just over two years, in collaboration with UNICEF Ethiopia, to raise awareness and accelerate prevention efforts in the two regions with the highest prevalence of FGM/C, Afar and Somali. The EUR5m budget set aside by Fondation Espoir has already helped in reaching more than 20,000 community members and over 2,200 religious leaders. Furthermore, 18 kebeles (sub-districts) in the Somali region have committed to abandon the practice and 2,200 victims have received care in the last year.
Approximately 65% of girls and women aged 15-49 have been cut, according to the 2016 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS), this number rises to nearly 98.5% in the Somali region. Prevention work to tackle the practice on the ground is showing results and also girls and women have greater information on the treatment options available. Complications vary and require a thorough medical assessment, as treatments can range from psychological support to surgery in cases with severe complications. The programme financed by Fondation Espoir helped hire two doctors / gynaecologists responding to more than 650 new cases per month in clinics in Afar and Somali. Following the important work of sensitisation conducted on the issue, local health centres see a growing number of victims seeking help to alleviate symptoms and therefore, additional qualified doctors are needed in Afar and Somali to treat patients and train health workers.
Fondation Espoir set up this five-year programme after realising the focus on prevention was greater than on the care of victims and it decided to give both elements equal importance. The objective is to train up to 3,000 health workers by 2020, 650 health workers trained to date, and recruit an additional 4 gynaecologists in the coming months. Fondation Espoir, Fondation de Luxembourg and UNICEF continue to work closely to deliver results on the ground and assess how the programme might be extended beyond 2020 to support the efforts of Ethiopian Government to end FGM/C by 2025.
Fatima, 18, an FGM victim and activist in Erubti in the Afar region, said: "I don't need outside motivation to advocate against FGM, as I am a victim myself. Anyone who has experienced that kind of pain is motivated to act."
Dr Mariame Sylla, a UNICEF Health Specialist in Ethiopia, said. "Treating the consequences of FGM/C is as important as preventing the practice from happening. Effects include severe bleeding, chronic pain, complications with childbirth and even death. Fondation Espoir's support and guidance has been critical to give a voice to girls and women affected by FGM/C and seeking help to lead a normal life."
Dr Wirtgen, Board member of Fondation Espoir, said: "Fondation Espoir's objective remains to help eradicate FGM/C in Afar and Somali, two of the most affected regions and simultaneously offer treatment to victims to alleviate ongoing complications. We believe we can accelerate the pace of change and help the Government of Ethiopia reach its target of ending FGM by 2025. The programme is providing vital access to care to women who will otherwise continue to suffer in silence."
Female genital mutilation: the facts
- FGM includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons
- More than 200 million girls and women alive today in 30 countries have undergone FGM
- FGM is carried out on girls, predominately between infancy and age 15
- FGM has no health benefits and can cause severe bleeding, problems urinating, cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths
- FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women
Maitland: Sundeep Tucker/Nathalie Falco/Cebby Bliss
SOURCE Fondation Espoir