Why We Care.org

I am often asked why, as a man, I have been so involved and persistent in this field, a field that is often tied to “women’s issues.” My primary response is simple: I care because it is the right, humane, and human thing to do. This is what drives me. Also, I happen to have lived through some of the horrific circumstances that can surround the issue of family planning and reproductive rights.

I believe that the success of African leadership in this decade shouldbe judged first and foremost by the progress made in the lives of our girls and women.

My father died when I was very young – three or four years old. I was brought up mainly by my mother, and therefore I had to stay in the women’s compound in Osu, where I grew up, a lot longer than ordinary boys of my clan. I stayed there until I was about ten years old. So as a young, impressionable child, I was surrounded, always, by girls and my powerful aunties, and my mother.

Then a bit later, I worked in my first job as a stand-in teacher to a class of thirty girls, in Osu, and I learned even more about girls. It was during this time that I was waiting anxiously for the results of my Cambridge School Certificate exams, which had been delayed by World War ll. Finally, I left my country at age 23, in 1947, and went overseas, having received by good fortune a British Colonial Government scholarship. I trained in medicine at the University of London, and in Edinburgh. In Britain in the 1940s and 1950s, not even the condom was available very readily. I saw the result of this restriction. There were girls, overseas students like us, who had gotten pregnant and could not face it and had gone to unskilled providers. A couple of them had died, and one had attempted suicide.

When I returned to Ghana as a doctor, one of my assignments was to conduct autopsies or post mortems and I was to see horrible things on those slabs as a result of botched abortions.