Dr Melusi Dhlamini is a medical practitioner who focuses on obstetrics and gynaecology and is the director of clinical services at Marie Stopes South Africa.He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of abortion services at the facility. He sees all of the patients admitted to his department, and performs second-trimester abortions and acute gynaecological emergencies. Among these are complicated cases such as failed illegal abortions.
Dhlamini views every one of these procedures performed under his expertise as a life saved from an illegal abortion.
Dhlamini endeavours to use every moment to educate others about abortions as a health service and as a human right enshrined in the Constitution. To this end, social media has proven to be a useful tool.
When asked about his proudest career moment he says, “When I was told that the first self-managed abortion that I did was successful … I tweeted about it. The response was so warm from my colleagues and sexual and reproductive health partners in the country and abroad.”
Dhlamini hopes to use his expertise to ensure that Marie Stopes remains a leading provider of affordable and quality health services and to expand the organisation.
“When I got admitted for medicine, why did I send back an acceptance of an offer letter?” he asks, and then answers, “Because I dreamed of one day being a doctor and making a difference in people’s lives in some way.”
Under his leadership, developments are in place for Marie Stopes to offer all healthcare services for women and to eventually introduce a trans healthcare service.
Dhlamini hopes to play a role in reforming the primary healthcare package to include safe and free medical abortion services at a clinic level, and to see an increase in access to sexual and reproductive health services in poor areas through the widespread use of telemedicine.