A renowned Nollywood Actress, Stephaine Linus-Okereke, was on Wednesday unveiled as the Regional Ambassador for Maternal Health in West and Central Africa Region by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole in Lagos.
Adewole was represented by Greg Izuwa, the Deputy Director, Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, at the unveiling ceremony organised by the United Nations Population Fund in Lagos.
According to him: “Linus-Okereke has been found worthy in character and in learning.
“We take that to what she is going to do as the ambassador.
“She went through rigorous screening before she was appointed.
“She has already been appointed, but we are now making the general public to know she is now the regional ambassador in West and Central Africa.”
In her acceptance, Linus-Okereke said motherhood was often a positive and fulfilling experience, but for thousands of women in sub-Saharan Africa, it was associated with suffering, ill health and even death.
Linus-Okereke said: “As a woman and as a mother, I believe every woman has right to be beautiful, every woman has the right to health, and every woman has the right to support their children to achieve their potential.
“It pleases me to know that these concerns are encapsulated in UNFPA’s mandate to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
“When I produced the movie dry, I told the story of millions of girls in Africa who are forced to be child brides.
“I encapsulated in Halima’s tears, the sorrow, pain and health complications that arise from marrying too early and getting pregnant too soon.”
The ambassador said two years after production, she has not stopped raising her voice or using her platform to advocate for the rights of women and adolescent girls.
Linus-Okereke said that she has been advocating their right to equality, education and access reproductive healthcare and information, including access to family planning.
She said: “I am honoured to partner with UNFPA to create an enabling environment for women, girls and every young person to fulfill their potential.
“I will work closely with the fund to draw attention to the work that still needs
to be done across the region to increase universal access to comprehensive sexual reproductive health services and information.
“This is to stop women from dying in the course of bringing forth new life, to empower women and girls to choose freely and for themselves.”