“We all have roles to play in curbing maternal mortality and morbidity” says Stephanie Linus

23 August 2017
Ms Stephanie Linus, UNFPA Regional Ambassador and Mr. Niyi Ojuolape UNFPA Ghana Rep at the press interaction
Ms Stephanie Linus, UNFPA Regional Ambassador and Mr. Niyi Ojuolape UNFPA Ghana Rep at the press interaction

Mrs. Stephanie Linus, the Nigerian icon and actress who is also the UNFPA regional ambassador for maternal health said everyone has a role to play in curbing maternal mortality and morbidity on the African continent. She said this when she paid a two day visit to Ghana on the 18th and 19th of August 2017 to help advocate for extra resources for the treatment of women suffering from Obstetric Fistula (OF).

Ms. Linus came on the invitation from Glitz Africa to participate in the Glitz Style Awards 2017 which was organized to celebrate personalities who are redefining fashion and style in their spheres of influence as well as their personal lives in Africa. Ms. Linus had a number of press events including a press interaction where she urged African government to invest in health systems so as to prevent needless maternal deaths and illnesses that sent women into hiding and isolation. She called on other stakeholders such as the media to use their medium to create awareness and raise funds for treating clients.

Mr. Niyi Ojuolakpe UNFPA Representative in Ghana said it is the onus for UNFPA to provide all the assistance to Ghana to ensure that, first and foremost, the number of women who developed OF is reduced as currently between 700 and 1300 cases occur annually. Secondly the backlog of cases of women who have OF are repaired and re-integrated back in to society. We can only partner with all well-meaning people in society as no one person can do it. We owe it as a responsibility to our women who made it possible for us to be living today he concluded.

Stephanie also presented ‘the Most Stylish Movie Star’ to Ms. Zynnel Zuh the winner of that category and used the opportunity to create awareness on maternal health with emphasis on one of the dreadful maternal morbidities: obstetric fistula.

During a courtesy call on the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms. Otiko Djaba said she is committed to ensuring that Fistula is a thing of the past. She said as part of her ministries contribution, all women who have been treated are to be put on the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme to help ease their economic hardships. She directed UNFPA to work with the health facilities to furnish her with the list before the end of August 2017.

The Nigerian actress and filmmaker who starred in more than 100 films and received several awards and nominations for her work also produced the prestigious Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards (AMVCA) 2016 Award for Best Overall Movie in Africa and AMAA Awards Best Nigerian Film for her most recent work - DRY.  Dry is a film that touches on child marriage and obstetric fistula and this film is what urged UNFPA to work with her as an ambassador to help create awareness and raise funds for maternal health on the African continent.