Symposium Key Speakers




Dr Kabir Sheikh MBBS, MSc, PhD, DLSHTM(R) is a Joint Director (Research and Policy) at the Public Health Foundation of India and Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne, is a public health physician, health systems researcher and policy analyst, with interests in health systems strengthening, governance and social equity in low and middle income countries. He directs the Health Governance Hub, an interdisciplinary programme of health policy and systems research at PHFI. He also directs the Nodal Institute of the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research at PHFI, and the WHO Regional Training Centre for Implementation Research at PHFI. Dr Sheikh is also Honorary Senior Lecturer at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Adjunct Professor at BRAC University Dhaka. Dr Sheikh is Board Chair of Health Systems Global, the first international membership organization for health systems research and knowledge translation. He is a member of the Global Health Group of the Medical Research Council UK, the Lancet Commission on Migration and Health and the WHO Health Systems Governance Collaborative. He has served in diverse roles as an expert and advisor to the World Health Organization, the European Commission, UNICEF, the Wellcome Trust, USAID, DfID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of India, and several universities and policy / research groups globally. In 2011, he led the technical team (citizen and private sector participation) for the Government of India commissioned recommendations on Universal Health Coverage. Dr Sheikh is the founder and Scientific Convenor of the Government of India’s National Knowledge Platform for Health Systems Research. He also founded and convenes the KEYSTONE India initiative, a consortium of thirteen leading Indian public health institutions building capacity in health policy & systems research. He also co-founded SHaPeS, Health Systems Global’s thematic working group on Social science approaches for research and engagement on Health Policy and Systems. He has authored over sixty refereed publications, and the volume Health Providers in India (Routledge 2010). He is health systems editor at Health Policy & Planning, and a member of the advisory board of BMJ Global Health.



Dr. Chris Atim is a Senior Program Director at Results for Development Institute (R4D). In the latter role, he also served for one year as the health systems and equity advisor on USAID’s global flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP). At the same time, he serves as the Executive Director of the African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA), a pan-African think tank that brings together experts in health economics, financing, policy and systems across the continent. He recently chaired the Ghanaian President’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Technical Review Committee. Dr. Atim received his PhD from the University of Sussex in the UK in 1993, following a thesis on economic development. This was followed by a number of post-doctoral courses in epidemiology, health economics and financing in the UK and Belgium. He has taught for many years in the health economics masters course at the West African regional Institute of Higher Management Studies (CESAG) in Senegal. For about five years to December 2014, he also served as a senior health economist with the World Bank based in Dakar, Senegal, where he led on the Bank’s health financing support to a number of countries in the region.

Between 1999 and 2004, he worked as a senior health economist for Abt Associates Inc. and served as the West and Central Africa Regional Advisor for USAID’s Partnerships for Health Reform (PHR) Project. In that role, he played a pioneering role in the development and promotion of Mutual Health Organizations (MHOs, or mutuelles), leading and supervising technical assistance for PHR’s program on community-based health insurance schemes (MHOs) in West and Central Africa. Between 2004 and 2009, Dr. Atim worked for a number of international organizations in the areas of cost-effectiveness and evidence-based decision making in introducing new technologies in GAVI-eligible countries; costing of HIV/TB/Malaria programs; analyses of the international aid architecture, aid effectiveness, global health initiatives as well as fiscal space issues for low income countries.


bart criel

Dr Bart Criel:  I joined the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in 1990. I am currently Professor and head of the Equity & Health Unit (formerly Health Financing Unit) in the Department of Public Health. My main areas of work are the study of health care delivery systems and systems of social protection in health in Low and Middle Income Countries. In the ITM’s Masters course (Masters in Public Health or MPH), I am in charge of the modules Local Health Systems Analysis (6 ECTS credits) and Social Health Protection (5 ECTS credits). I am currently co-director of the MPH, and in that function responsible for the management and teaching policies of this international public health course. I am involved in a number of health systems research projects in various sub-Saharan African countries and in charge of the institutional collaboration ITM has developed with sister academic institutions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (School of Public Health in Lubumbashi) and India (the Institute of Public Health in Bangalore).

I trained as a Medical Doctor at the Catholic University of Louvain (KUL 1981) and obtained a Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene at ITM in the same year. In the period October 1981-April 1983, I worked during as resident assistant consultant in the department of Internal Medicine of the Stuyvenberg Hospital in Antwerp and as General Practitioner in the greater Antwerp region. From May 1983 to July 1990, I worked as Medical Officer in the Kasongo and Bwamanda districts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) for the Belgian Technical Cooperation. I obtained a Master of Science degree in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LHSTM) in 1989 and joined ITM at the end of 1990. In 1998, I obtained my PhD at the VUB on the subject of district-based health insurance in sub-Saharan Africa. My research activities are mainly situated in two areas. A first domain is the study of arrangements of social protection in health. The focus is on the investigation of experiences that develop at micro and meso-levels of the health system: community health insurance schemes and arrangements of social assistance for health care developed for the poorest in the community. Increasingly, research work is being done in the field of social exclusion in the South and access to health care for ­destitute populations. A second concerns the planning, organization and management of health care delivery systems at district level. The focus is mainly on sub-Saharan Africa and, to a lesser extent, also on India and Belgium. The aim of this research is to study the organizational and managerial modalities for the development of more effective, efficient and equitable health care delivery in  rapidly changing environments characterized by important social, political, epidemiological and demographic changes.

In terms of service delivery, I am involved in a series of collaborations with non-governmental and bilateral aid organizations working in the field of Primary Health Care in low-income countries. Since 2014, I am member of the board of the Belgian international health NGO Memisa Belgium. In the period 2001-2008, I was involved in the design and implementation of social policies at municipality level in Belgium as chair of the social welfare services in my home municipality. This experience with social work has been and is an important source of inspiration for my overseas work in the field of social (health) protection.



Dr. Juliet Nabyonga-Orem works for the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Medical officer in charge of health policies, strategies and governance. She also Heads the health systems and services cluster of the WHO Inter-country support team for East and Southern Africa. Previously, she was the Regional advisor on health systems partnerships, monitoring and evaluation based at the WHO Regional office for Africa in Congo Brazzaville.  Prior to moving to the Regional office for Africa, she worked at the WHO Uganda office as a Health Economics advisor and head of the health systems and services cluster. Before joining WHO, Juliet worked at various levels of the health care system in Uganda. Dr. Nabyonga-Orem is a graduate of Makerere University, Kampala Uganda where she obtained MB ChB (1996), obtained a MSc in Health Economics from University of York, UK (1999) and a PhD in Public Health from Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium (2015). Her core experience in health system development spans over 16 years within Africa focusing mainly on building countries’ capacity in policy development; health financing; designing, implementing and evaluating health sector reforms and health system performance assessment. She has extensive research experience on various aspects of health systems and health services  such as; health financing, knowledge translation, evaluation of health sector reforms, identifying solutions to barriers in service delivery, health and poverty, economic evaluation of health programs/interventions, costing and cost effectiveness analysis among others.



Prof. Charles Hongoro is a research director in the Population Health, Health Systems and Innovation Programme. He holds a PhD in Health Economics and Policy from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London.

Before rejoining the HSRC in July 2013, he was a unit director of the Health Systems Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council. He previously worked as research director in the former Policy Analysis Unit at the HSRC in Pretoria; as a programme director of health economics and systems at the Aurum Institute for Health Research in Johannesburg; and as a lecturer in health economics and systems at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and as a senior medical research officer (health economist) in the Health Systems Research Unit at the National Institute of Health Research (formerly known as the Blair Research Institute) in Zimbabwe. He has been an extraordinary professor (Research) at Tshwane University of Technology since 2008 and serves on several technical or advisory committees locally and internationally.

His areas of research interest include health systems financing, the economics of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, health systems and policy-oriented research in general, evaluation and impact studies. Prof. Hongoro’s publication record spans the authoring and co-authoring of several conference presentations, peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.