A Springboard for Equity
Even as a young boy growing up in rural Uganda, Jotham Musinguzi could not ignore the illness and death that affect so many women and girls — misfortunes that in later life, he would recognize as events associated with reproductive health (RH). But it was their talk about the lack of “medicines” that struck him most — and the sense of hopelessness it created.
And it was those most in need of help — the poor, the young, and the isolated — who were least likely to get the medicines they needed.
It was this realization that propelled Dr. Musinguzi into medicine. He won a scholarship to Makerere University and graduated as an obstetrician-gynecologist. But he soon recognized that what he once thought of as medicines — or more accurately RH supplies — were not the only things women and girls needed. They needed to be heard. And so he added his voice to theirs; working to rally the voices of others, from local policymakers to international NGOs, to confront the inequities affecting the lives of so many women. In his work with Partners for Population Development, he has engaged with health ministers in countries across Africa to increase budget allocations for reproductive health, and has helped support reproductive health champions such as Uganda’s First Lady and the Queen of the country’s Buganda Kingdom.
Over the course of his long career as a doctor and an advocate, Dr. Musinguzi has seen tremendous progress, in Uganda and across the globe. But for him, it is not yet time to rest. He always maintains that our successes must serve as springboards to further action, because there’s still much more work to do. And he has recently put that belief into practice. After many years of directing Partners in Population and Development office, he has now embarked on a new challenge as the Director of the National Population Council, a government body allowing for greater decision making and funding to be directed to national reproductive health, family planning, and population issues.
Dr. Musinguzi recognizes the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition as a leader, convener, and collaborator in bringing together disparate stakeholders at critical moments to advance a common goal of equitable access to reproductive health supplies for all.
For many potential consumers, the cost of supplies has been a major, but not the only, barrier to accessing what they need and want for reproductive and sexual health. The need for equity also draws its inspiration from a rights-based approach to achieving better RH health.
The Coalition’s contributions to contraceptive commodity and reproductive health supply security are founded within a solid base of four strategic pillars — Quality, Equity, Choice and Availability. This series of profiles and interviews aims to celebrate Coalition members and partners who actually do the work in supporting our issues.