Renowned Nollywood Actress Urges African Leaders To Commit More Resources On Maternal Health
| Updated Aug 19, 2017 at 9:00am
Mrs. Stephanie Okereke-Linus.
A renowned Nigerian Actress and filmmaker, Mrs. Stephanie Okereke-Linus, has urged African leaders to commit more resources to help address the numerous challenges of maternal health.
She said although Africa recorded some health sector progress during the era of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), they are not enough, compared to what pertains in the Western world, especially as when diverse issues of maternal health still persisted with their attendant high morbidity and mortality rates.
Mrs. Okereke-Linus, who is the United Nations Population Fund, (UNFPA) Regional Maternal Health Ambassador for West & Central Africa, was speaking during a media interaction at the invitation of the UNFPA in Accra on Friday.
She said being the UNFPA Ambassador for Maternal Health, she will intensify advocacy and education on issues of women’s rights, and also advocate against early child marriage.
Mrs. Okereke-Linus said efforts at reducing maternal mortality seemed to be stalling as there is lack of action by the appropriate authorities including governments, medical personnel, and society as a whole, in pushing for the right legislations, focus, leadership and continuous stakeholder engagements, as well as public education.
She cited challenges such as poor access to health care, lack of infrastructure expansion, low rate of female education in some African countries, women’s economic empowerment, and the low media involvement in advocacy, as some major barriers to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She called on every country in the continent to step up efforts, form partnerships and intensify advocacy, to improve maternal health both in Africa and the world over.
She said she is very passionate about what she is doing, saying it’s a shame that in the 21st century a high number of women still faced preventable incidences such as Obstetric Fistula which, is a medical condition resulting from prolonged obstructed labour, and ending up with the woman either leaking urine, faeces or both through the birth canal.
She referred to Obstetric Fistula as a great injustice to women in the performance of their reproductive rights, and called for good governance as a key factor towards the elimination of this preventable health condition.
Mrs. Okereke-Linus said she is in Ghana to participate in the 2017 Glitz Style Awards, which is scheduled for today, August 19, 2017, and will take the opportunity to visit certain key leadership people including the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection.