What is your role at the University of Ghana and what does it involve?
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the School of Public Health, and the Department of Epidemiology of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research at the University of Ghana, Legon. These positions involve research, teaching and extension services to governmental and non-governmental agencies, both locally and internationally.
How long have you worked there (and what was your previous job)?
I worked at the Noguchi Institute for Medical Research for 10 years at the beginning of my career as a Research Assistant and progressed to become a Research Fellow. I then proceeded to the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in the United States of America for further studies, where I acquired a Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degrees in International Health at the. After graduating from Johns Hopkins, I worked with the Health, Nutrition and Population Division of the World Bank and then the Department of Reproductive Health and Research. I also worked at the Global Malaria Programme of the World Health Organization in Geneva, and subsequently, as a Senior Advisor for Health at the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), New York for about 12 years before returning to the University of Ghana in 2017 as a Senior Research Fellow.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a physician and in a role that would enable me to make a big difference in the health of populations both locally and globally.
What is your proudest career achievement?
Working with countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, to develop new approaches to programming for reproductive health in the context of HIV/AIDS and advocating and supporting them to re-programme funding for programmes such as malaria and HIV/AIDS to strengthen health systems and reproductive health services in particular.
What led you to join the MARCH Centre?
The activities of MARCH are aligned to my interests and expertise. MARCH provides an opportunity for bridging gaps in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) research in low-, middle- and high-income countries and engages individuals and institutions in a collaborative, evidence-generating and research capacity building effort that is beneficial to the global community.
Can you tell us about the MSc Sexual & Reproductive Health Policy and Programming and your involvement?
The MSc Sexual & Reproductive Health Policy and Programming is an innovative programme that fosters partnership between two institutions, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Ghana School of Public Health (UGSPH). It aims to strenthen capacity for SRH leadership in the sub-Saharan Africa region, bridge the knowledge gap on SRH and share experiences across the sub-Sahara Africa region towards the improvement of SRH in the region.
I serve on the Programme Committee and I am also a module organiser for the module on sexual and proproductive health policy and programming. I also lead the mentorship programme and serve as a lecturer.
What scholarships are available?
There are 45 scholarships available for applicants to the MSc Sexual & Reproductive Health Policy and Programming from sub-Saharan Africa.
What do you hope for the future of the programme?
I hope the programme rapidly develops a critical mass of SRH professionals in the sub-Saharan Africa region who would be well equipped to critically collect, analyse and appraise sexual and reproductive health information and use that information for policy and programming at all levels to achieve improved reproductive health outcomes.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It is a day that highlights the important role women play in all aspects of societal development. The celebration of International Women’s day provides an opportunity to recognise these achievements, and facilitate the removal of all barriers to women’s participation in society towards gender equity.
One of the themes of International Women’s Day this year is ‘Embrace Equity’, why is gender equity important and what advice do you have for women in global health?
The theme ‘Embrace Equity’ raises awareness of gender-related inequities in society and their impact on women’s health and development and that of their families, communities and society at large. Gender equity is important because it removes barriers of discrimination and exclusion, and enables women to achieve their full potential and leverage their positions in society to generate impacts that benefit individuals, households and communities, especially when they attain leadership positions.
In global health, women must strive to achieve leadership roles and mobilise partnerships and resources to build women’s capacity and equip them with skills to advance global health.
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