Changemaker:Dr. Adaeze Oreh

Location:Nigeria

I’m playing my part for reproductive and maternal healthcare by speaking out about the needs of women and children in Nigeria. It is important that the voices of women and girls in Nigeria are trusted to know what they need, how they should access care and services, and be respected for just who they are and nothing more.

 If she represented a hundred million women who had similar experiences of being empowered and engaged in their communities to get sufficient respectful, quality healthcare for them and their families, the picture of healthcare in Nigeria would completely turn around.

My name is Dr. Adaeze Oreh, and I am from Abuja, Nigeria.  My interest in joining White Ribbon Alliance was primarily because of WRA’s safe motherhood focus because I was born prematurely. My mom had a very challenging maternal history, but I was born because she was a beneficiary of sufficient medical support. I never took the care she received for granted, and all through medical school I was always interested in the women who were coming in for maternal health services.  I was always conscious of the fact that women being able to access quality basic or emergency healthcare services doesn’t take away from the fact that they are individuals as well, that they are human beings that have human needs aside from their medical needs.

White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria’s work is empowering citizens voices and engaging more people within their communities, empowering them with the information to their rights to healthcare, and providing them a platform where they can engage with the stakeholders. Where before there was a gap between the regular person and the community and the stakeholders in executive positions or in the legislature, now you have an organization, an acknowledged and respectable organization like White Ribbon Alliance in Nigeria, that will provide that platform where citizens can engage with the stakeholders and engage with their legislators and speak on the facts based on their experiences in their communities.

One of my favorite times as a part of White Ribbon Alliance was during the national citizen’s hearings around 2014 or 2015. There was a lady who was from the northern part of Nigeria who was talking about her experience as a mother, as a beneficiary of healthcare in the north, and the role that White Ribbon Alliance had played in engaging citizens at the community level. She spoke of how empowered they felt to demand their rights and effect change even at that small community level. What resonated with me was that this was one woman talking about one community but imagine if this woman represented a hundred million women, because women make up half the population of Nigeria. If she represented a hundred million women who had similar experiences of being empowered and engaged in their communities to get sufficient respectful, quality healthcare for them and their families, the picture of healthcare in Nigeria would completely turn around.

Thank youDr. Adaeze

for playing your part.

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