Using dance and drama to curb childbirth fatalities

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More than 400 expectant mothers filled the Woreda 4 hall in Kechene area, Arada district, to watch plays, and listen to music focusing on maternal and infant health.  The neighborhood was chosen because of the large number of impoverished mothers concentrated there.
Despite recent decreases recorded, 22 thousand women still die every year giving birth in Ethiopia; a rate among the highest in the world. Currently over 80 percent of mothers in Ethiopia give birth without consulting a health professional or going to a clinic. Many give birth at home without proper neo-natal care and as a result 40 percent of newborns and 30 percent of mothers die within the first 24 hours of giving birth.
Now a group is using theatre, dance, visual and traditional arts to create widespread awareness about maternal and children’s health in Ethiopia
EVERY ONE is an artistic journey developed by Music May day Ethiopia (MMET) in partnership with Save the Children Global and 18 other organizations as part of a five year campaign to reduce infant and maternal mortality by close to seventy percent to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Hiwot Emishaw, the communications officer for EVERY ONE said they plan to spread the message through 11 woredas in the Amhara and southern regions convince people to take action about something that kills mothers and children every day in Ethiopia. Eventually they plan to bring the event to 36 other countries with high maternal and infant mortality rates.
Over 65 Music May day Ethiopia (MMET) graduates between 16-23 years old will perform in major towns including Desssie, Bahir Dar and Woreta, Hawassa, and Dilla.  
Amhara and southern regions were first chosen because of their common Amharic language.  However, plans are in the works to target other regions and language groups. The campaign is expected to cost about 800 thousand birr. It will be completely funded by Save the Children Global, Hiwot added.