By Julia Marion and Rachel Hassinger
Julia Marion is a communications coordinator and Rachel Hassinger is an online communications specialist at Management Sciences for Health. This article originally appeared on MSH.org.
Amy Boldosser-Boesch recalls feeling fortunate to have interned with Family Care International (FCI) when studying for her Master’s in International Affairs at Columbia University. Founded in 1986, FCI was the first international organization dedicated to maternal and reproductive health. Little did she know, in those early days of her career, that she would one day lead the organization.
“I’ve been so honored to be a part of FCI and its long record of saving women’s lives,” says Amy. “FCI launched and led the global Safe Motherhood movement, hosted the first Women Deliver conference, was founding co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, and so much more—it’s really an incredible history of impact.”
For nearly thirty years, FCI worked in partnership with national governments, NGOs, and local activists to advocate for increased political and financial commitment to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and adolescent health at global and national levels and in remote communities in Africa and Latin America. It was this approach, which Amy calls “constructive activism,” that drew her back to FCI in 2010 to lead its global advocacy efforts. In 2014, FCI’s Board selected Amy as the organization’s Interim President and asked her to lead the transition through which FCI’s programs and staff have become a part of Management Sciences for Health (MSH).
Launched by MSH in January 2016, the FCI Program of MSH builds on FCI’s leadership in the global movement for improved maternal and reproductive health, and leverages the global capabilities of MSH to strengthen health systems to effectively address and overcome the world’s most pressing health challenges. The FCI Program is already helping women’s groups, midwives’ associations, and community organizations, in countries where women and newborns continue to die from preventable causes, to build the knowledge and advocacy skills they need to demand immediate action to improve the health and rights of women and girls. It is working to expand access to emergency contraception, make sure that victims of gender-based violence get the services they need, and hold governments accountable for keeping their promises to prioritize the health and well-being of every woman and every child.
“We fit together so well because MSH’s work to strengthen health systems is absolutely essential to fostering the health equity and accountability for which FCI was always such a powerful advocacy voice,” Amy says. “And our team’s work to strengthen civil society and community voices, and to bring the power of evidence into global and national health dialogues, is equally essential to building sustainable health systems that truly meet the needs of all citizens.”
For three decades, FCI spoke out for the health and rights of women, adolescents, newborns and children, and was recognized for its work with such honors as the United Nations Population Award and MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The FCI Program of MSH, Amy says, will keep working to make a difference across all of the factors that contribute to a well-functioning health system and that are crucial for ensuring the health of women and children and their families.