“For pioneering discussions on women’s reproductive rights in Africa, paving the way for liberalised abortion laws and improved safe abortion access.”
Eunice Brookman-Amissah is a Ghanaian physician whose leadership has been instrumental in advancing safe abortion access across Africa. For three decades, she has spearheaded high-level advocacy, sensitisation programmes and training on women’s reproductive rights. Her efforts have successfully united healthcare providers, government officials, lawyers and activists in support of abortion law reforms in Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Benin, Eswatini and Kenya, and abortion law implementation in Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Senegal and Mauritius, among others.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 6.2 million unsafe abortions occur each year. It is the most perilous region in the world for abortion access: 92 per cent of women live in a country where abortion is restricted. Brookman-Amissah, who began her career as a doctor, initially held anti-abortion views. But, when she learned that one of her paediatric patients died from an unsafe abortion, she changed her focus to advocating for safe abortion access. Her advocacy has contributed to a 40 per cent decline in abortion-related deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2000.
When Brookman-Amissah began her advocacy, the term abortion was too taboo to mention, let alone champion at high-level forums. Nonetheless, she tirelessly raised the issue to empower women, enhance their autonomy, improve their health, and ultimately, create an environment where they can thrive personally and professionally. Brookman-Amissah is a pioneer in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
Watch the short video of her accepting the award, and the clip in the longer video where she describes her work, at about 45 minutes into the whole.
SOURCE: Sent in by Elly Leemhuis, retired senior staffperson, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Den Haag