She is forthright, firm and fair. She is bright and bold. She is simple and sensitive. Above all, she leads. These are but a few of the adjectives used to describe the genial Dr. Belinda Afriyie Nimako by residents of South Dayi and her colleagues.
Belinda is a medical doctor and the Acting Director of Health Services for South Dayi in the Volta region. Her passion for public health is evident in her commitment to community level healthcare service delivery; obvious in her daring decision to work in a district.
Within just a year of being in the district, she has supervised the completion of one Health Centre, the ongoing construction of a 3-room maternity block in Tsanakpe, and has commenced preparatory work for a third health service structure. But make no mistake, she does not only care about infrastructure. With an eye for quality, Belinda puts a lot of effort into building the capacity of her team and putting systems in place to deliver the quality of healthcare Ghana Health Service aspires to achieve.
She completed the renowned Wesley Girls High School in 1996, after which she gained admission to the University of Ghana Medical School. She went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Public Health at the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, where she emerged as the overall best student.
She is currently in the final month of a membership training with the Faculty of Public Health, Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Nimako graduated from Medical School in 2006 and has since worked with the Ministry of Health. As a medical officer, besides general practice, she has also rendered services in specialised units including the Centre for Clinical genetics in Korlebu Teaching Hospital (‘Sickle cell Clinic’) and also in the Volta Regional Hospital where she provided care for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Her impact has extended beyond service delivery. As a resident with the department of community health in the University Of Ghana Medical School, she supported the training of younger colleague doctors.
Her interest in academia was given a further boost when she served as a personal assistant to the Vice Chancellor of University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS). In UHAS, she was instrumental in the development of the undergraduate programme for public health, supported the inception phase of the School of Medicine and also served as the site leader for a multicentre research project to study the effectiveness of the then newly introduced rotavirus vaccine for the children of Ghana.
Apart from her palpable contribution to healthcare delivery in South Dayi as the Health Director, the hardworking Dr. Nimako combines the arduous task of being a mother, a director of health services and a resident of the college of physicians with other roles such as being a member of the board of the Food and Drugs Authority and Service Supplier for the World Health Organization.
She is an ardent believer in the benefits of partnership and celebrates the support of the District Assembly, the Member of Parliament and of course Evidence for Action (MamaYe) amongst others.
Despite all her successes, Dr. Nimako is quick to attribute it all to team dedication. She said with a smile:
I feel I have a great team wherever I go and everyone plays an important role in keeping me going. A motivated team hardly fails.
Over the years, she has developed her project management skills to leverage her medical expertise in order to better manage the demands of the many hearts and minds she encounters.
Twelve months after joining the health directorate in the South Dayi District, a member of the MamaYe Maternal Health Council, popularly called Don Romeo, captures her influence succinctly:
Dr. Nimako knows how to get things done effortlessly even though she’s been here for just a year. She makes no excuses.
To crown her commitment to healthcare delivery, Dr. Nimako, has been selected as a Mandela Washington Fellow for 2015 under the Young African Leaders Initiative, and will undergo brief courses and leadership training in the United States along with other young achievers.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is conducted as an African merit-based open competition that requires applicants to show a proven record of leadership and accomplishment. The winners are selected based on a demonstration of commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship, the ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others and strong social and communication skills.
The Evidence for Action (MamaYe Ghana) project wishes to applaud Dr. Belinda Afriyie Nimako for her commitment to women’s health. Congratulations to Dr. Nimako and her team at the South Dayi Health Directorate for their contributions to the scorecard implementation and the community engagement activities for maternal and newborn survival. Dr. Nimako, true champions make a difference and you are a true MamaYe Champion.