News Deeply, a news website devoted to in-depth reporting on what they consider to be the world’s most pressing issues, is highlighting two leaders from the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) on its most recent “Nine Experts to Watch” list focused on family planning expertise. The site describes these experts as professionals who are “advancing research, policy and interventions for women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
“Access to family planning – the ability to choose whether to have children, when and how many – has an impact on a multitude of issues, including poverty, education and maternal mortality,” the News Deeply piece explains. “When women can space out their children, they are less likely to die in childbirth, and their families have more opportunities to make a living and send their children to school. But there are currently 225 million women without access to reliable family planning services, most of them in developing countries.
Among the nine experts highlighted are Mojisola Odeku, MD, portfolio director of CCP’s Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), and Tara Sullivan, PhD, MPH, who heads Knowledge for Health (K4Health), USAID’s flagship health knowledge management project, led by CCP.
Odeku is a veteran public health physician. Before joining CCP, she was head of the reproductive health program in Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, where she focused on safe motherhood; family planning, including contraceptive logistics management; adolescent reproductive health; and gender issues. The success of NURHI, which increased the use of modern contraception methods in six large Nigerian cities by 10 percentage points over a four-year period, has led to the scaling up of interventions across the country through the NUHRI 2 project, which she also leads. Odeku also serves on the executive board of several notable national and international NGOs working in reproductive and population programs including the International Council on Management of Population programs and Advocacy Nigeria.
Sullivan directs K4Health, CCP’s global project that connects health program managers and service providers around the world and encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing to improve family planning and reproductive health services in low- and middle-income countries. She is also director of Knowledge Management Programs at CCP and a faculty member of the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she teaches the class Improving Global Health Through Knowledge Application, Continuous Learning, and Adoption.
Both Sullivan and Odeku have been featured in Family Planning Voices, the story-sharing initiative by CCP’s K4Health project. Read Odenku’s experience framing messages about family planning methods in Nigeria or Sullivan discuss the lack of contraception access on the the Thailand-Burma border.