Accra, Ghana -- Ghanaian movie star, director and businessman John Dumelo is the obstetric fistula ambassador in Ghana. The actor was endorsed at an event organized by the Ministry of Health, with support from the United Nations Population Fund at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra as part of efforts to raise awareness and end obstetric fistula in the country.
Speaking on the theme, “Let’s end fistula within this generation”, the Minister for Health, Hon. Alex Segbefia said fistula is an issue of human rights and therefore needs to be handled with the utmost seriousness. He lamented on the limited number of obstetricians and gynecologists in the country and assured Ghanaians that trained personnel will be fairly distributed to ensure that women have access to quality health care especially during pregnancy. The Minister expressed his pleasure at John Dumelo’s willingness to advocate for the health of women and stressed the need for a heightened public education on obstetric fistula.
On his part, UNFPA Representative Babatunde Ahonsi called on Ghanaians to support the fistula ambassador’s efforts in order to ensure that no woman lives or dies with fistula. He noted child marriage, teenage pregnancy and poverty as some of the underlining contributory factors of fistula and stressed that ending fistula requires inclusiveness of all and a commitment to eliminate the stigma which comes with it. Dr. Ahonsi emphasized the need to provide support services and also to reintegrate fistula survivors into society. He said a major challenge facing the campaign against fistula is the fact that most women living with the condition are often unidentified due to fear of stigma making it difficult to access treatment. He expressed his delight at John Dumelo’s willingness to join in the advocacy for a fistula-free society.
Welcoming the participants in a speech read on her behalf, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Afisah Zakaria congratulated Ghana on progress so far made in the fight against fistula but said there is still more to be done. She found it welcoming that men are ready to work on ending a condition which directly affects women and urged the general public to join the campaign in order to maximize efforts in the fight against the condition. She further urged Ghanaians on the need for involvement and collaboration between celebrities, political leaders, civil society organizations, traditional leaders and development partners to help intensify the campaign against fistula for desirable results.