Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, M.P.H. ’91
In his native Uganda, Jotham Musinguzi practiced obstetrics and gynecology for 10 years, then taught at Makerere University’s medical school for another ten. He left the practice of medicine, however, deciding instead “to deal with policy issues, rather than clinical practice, because I realized clinical practice is not enough. We need to tackle policy in order to make more of a difference.”
With particular interests in reproductive health and family planning, population and development, and HIV/AIDS epidemiology, Musinguzi set out to impact policy in those areas. He has served Uganda as director of the Ministry of Finance’s Population Secretariat in Planning & Economic Development and chair of the International Council on Management of Population Programs (ICOMP), which is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Musinguzi, who was a board member and honorary treasurer of Partners in Population and Development (PPD), also served on the board of the Nairobi, Kenya-based African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC).
The father of five “has published many articles and continues to carry out research in his areas of specialization,” wrote Professor Ijuka Kabumba of Uganda’s Nkumba University. He has represented his country in various international meetings and summits of the United Nations and was extensively involved in the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. “Currently, Jotham holds four major positions: as regional director, Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO), Uganda; trustee, Commonwealth Medical Association Trust of London (COMMAT); trustee, Population Council of New York; and chair, Board of Directors, Population Services International (PSI), Uganda.”
David O. Carpenter, M.D., was dean of the University at Albany’s School of Public Health when he met Musinguzi. “Dr. Musinguzi was the very first M.P.H. graduate of the school in 1991. Trained in medicine as an obstetrician, he was recruited in the fight against HIV-AIDS in Uganda at a time when that disease was a greater problem in Uganda than in any other country. Dr. Musinguzi completed the program and returned to Uganda to continue his fight against this deadly disease there.”
As regional director of PPD, Musinguzi “expanded his leadership role on issues related to maternal and child health and family planning to all of Africa. His outstanding performance in this position, as well as his previous position with the Ugandan government, earned him the 2013 United National Population Award, presented by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at United National Headquarters on June 28, 2013,” Carpenter said.
At the London Summit on Family Planning a few years ago, Musinguzi’s work was acknowledged by Ugandan President Museveni, who pledged to increase his government’s family-planning budget from $3.3 million (Shs 7.8B) to $5 million (Shs 13B) annually for five years. The president also promised to raise an additional $5 million (Shs 13B) from donors and push for a policy environment that would allow women to exercise family-planning choices.