Placide Tapsoba, MD, MPH, is the Ghana country director and a senior associate in the Population Council's Reproductive Health program. Tapsoba sets the strategy for public health research and advocacy with a focus on creating and implementing evidence-based programs that improve maternal and child health.
Throughout his career, Tapsoba has addressed sensitive public health issues in traditional African settings, and has been recognized as a leader who confronts stigmas surrounding sexual and reproductive health. For example, Tapsoba led a unique research program that documented the first body of evidence about men having sex with men (MSM) and the challenges men face with HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections in Dakar, Senegal. This marked a significant step in addressing stigma related to MSM and encouraged support from donors and policymakers in implementing replicable programs that meet the health needs of this vulnerable population in West Africa and elsewhere.
Starting in the 1980s, Tapsoba worked with religious leaders to introduce family planning practices into Islamic culture in West Africa. This movement encouraged religious leaders to combat HIV and AIDS in West Africa, which helped change the way the Islamic community approached the epidemic. Tapsoba was among the first researchers in West Africa to study female genital mutilation/cutting, and worked to introduce post-abortion care programs in more than 17 Francophone countries. He also initiated a novel evidence-building program for people with disabilities in need of HIV and sexual and reproductive health services in Ghana, a groundbreaking public health development for this region.
In response to historically high rates of abortion-related maternal mortality, Tapsoba led an intervention that has resulted in the delivery of safe abortion services and family planning to women in Ghana. These efforts led to the formation of the Council’s Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity (R3M) program in Ghana, a consortium of five international partners working to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5 by reducing and eliminating maternal mortality and morbidity due to unsafe abortion through reducing unwanted fertility.
Tapsoba is on the board the Global Research and Advocacy Group. He studied medicine at the University of Padua, Italy, and subsequently earned both a master's in public health and a master's in medical anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has presented at many national and international conferences and has authored multiple peer-reviewed journal articles.