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Okereke: Maternal health a collective responsibility

Ghana and other African countries need to implement systems and strengthen concerted efforts towards realising the maternal mortality target enshrined in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the UNFPA Regional Ambassador for Maternal Health in West and Central Africa, Stephanie Okereke Linus, has said.

The UN is targeting a reduction in the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births by 2030 under its health targets for SDG 3.

Ms Linus who is in Ghana for a health progromme explained on Class FM’s World Affairs on Friday, August 18, that, “Africans deserve better in terms of healthcare but when you go around you don’t find that and it takes dedication, and focus, to cater for the vulnerable in society and when you see things that are wrong in society you just have to speak about it.”

She told the host, Dr Etse Sikanku, that she cannot afford to be silent for society to neglect and give poor treatment to vulnerable girls hence the use of creative arts to create awareness and educate ladies as well as policy makers to institute measures to tackle maternal health.

“If you keep silent those things can happen to you so it is for our own betterment. We are all living in the same society and if a little thing with my voice can add to create awareness or change someone’s mind it is a good thing,” she added.

Ms Linus, who is a renowned actress and movie maker in Africa directed ‘Dry’, a 2014 Nigerian drama film starring herself, Liz Benson, William McNamara, Darwin Shaw and Paul Sambo.

The film’s theme focuses on Vesicovaginal Fistula condition and under aged marriage among young women, narrating the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose poor, uneducated, parents marry her off to a 60-year-old man, who constantly rapes her.

The victim gets pregnant and suffers Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) after child delivery; she’s consequently abandoned by her husband and discriminated against in the society.

Zara (Stephanie Okereke), a medical doctor who also suffered a horrific childhood meets her; she tries to help her get through her situation and also save other young women under such circumstance.

The multi-award winning actress wants an end to domestic abuse and improvement of health care, emphasising that women dying from preventable diseases is unacceptable.

She is encouraging stakeholders to ensure better care for pregnant women and compulsory education for girls.

She said young girls go through several challenges which require guidance and the right tools in order to better take care of themselves and contribute to society positively.

Source: ClassFMonline.com

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