Dr. Margaret Mungherera, Uganda’s bright star

She wears many hats: She is a psychiatrist, administrator, medical doctor, committed Christian and immediate past president of the World Medical Association.

Whatever she does, Dr. Margaret Mungherera puts passion into all her work. This explains her great achievements. One area where Dr. Mungherera has served diligently is in championing the rights of the vulnerable especially women and children.

Through her medical profession she has provided not only medical and counseling services but she helped establish an organisation that has transformed the lives of thousands of abused young girls. Hope After Rape has been at the forefront of providing support to survivors of sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence. It has also helped to raise awareness of government, NGOs and communities about psychological effects of sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence. The organisation started partnerships with other organisations to rehabilitate survivors of sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence. Hope after Rape has also conducted wide-ranging research and disseminated crucial information on sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence. It has also offered training in psychological management of gender-based violence.

Many years of experience

The 54-year old activist has been a medical doctor for over 30 years and a psychiatrist for over 20 years with special interest in forensic psychiatry. She studied medicine at Makerere University Medical School in Kampala, Uganda, before taking a diploma in tropical medicine at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. For the past 11 years she has been senior consultant psychiatrist at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala.

She is a founder member of Uganda Women Medical Doctors Association and was the first woman in Uganda to be elected President of the Uganda Medical Association in 1998 and again in 2010. She was in the forefront of bringing together the national medical associations in Eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda) long before the revived East African Community started its work.

She served as Vice President of the East, Central and South Africa region of Commonwealth medical Associations and has participated in global medical conventions and initiatives.

Last year Dr. Mungherera became President of the World Medical Association (WMA) a role she has undertaken with diligence. She took up office in October 2013 becoming the first woman President of the WMA since 2002 and the first African woman, having been elected unopposed by delegates at the WMA’s annual General Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand.

As President of WMA Dr. Mungherera has facilitated policy interventions to promote good ethical practice in the world and champion human rights of patients and physicians. She has worked to ensure that poor countries become more involved in activities of the Association.

First-Born child

Mungherera was born on October 25 1957 to Seezi and Joyce Mungherera. She is the first born of six children-three girls and three boys. She went to Kijjabwemi Primary school in Masaka, Nakasero Primary school in Kampala and Gayaza High school. She later joined Makerere University medical school and the London school of Tropical medicine and Hygiene.

She served in Butabika mental hospital as a medical officer and later as a visiting psychiatrist there. She later pursued a Master’s degree in psychiatry at Makerere University. She returned to work to Makerere University medical school where she taught psychiatry and developed a Forensic Psychiatry course for Postgraduate doctors there. Mungherera headed the Uganda Medical Association and was a member of the commission of enquiry that investigated the Global Fund scandal. She is an advocate for doctor’s welfare, mental health rights among so many other roles. She is married to Richard Mushanga, a retired banker. The couple had two adopted children one of whom passed on. They have homes in Bunga and Bushenyi. She is a Rotarian and loves to visit places. She is also a member of Cohort 77, a group of doctors that were at University around the year 1977.

A worthy advocate for better health, her role will continue to have a great impact on humanity.

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