Professor Sally Theobald

Chair in Social Science and International Health

I have a disciplinary background of geography and development studies and a PhD in Gender, Health and Development. I have wide ranging experience of designing and implementing gender sensitive qualitative research projects on HIV, TB, SRH and health systems in Africa and Asia.

Teaching: Qualitative research 

Research: I am currently working on collaborative research projects in Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique, Cambodia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. My research area is gender equity and health systems. My current research focus and grants are in the following areas: 1. Gender equity, human resources and health systems (including a focus on post conflict contexts); 2. Gender equity, health systems sexual and reproductive health and Tuberculosis; 3. Gender equity, research uptake and capacity building. 

PhD Students

Karsor Kollie – NTDs and health systems in Liberia

Andrew Ocero – Post conflict health systems in northern Uganda

Rosalind McCullom  - Equity and close to community providers in Kenya 

Rosalind Steege -  Gender, equity and community health workers – Ethiopia & Mozambique 

Amuda Baba -  Maternal health and human resources in rural fragile DRC

Current projects and grants

Euro, 250,000: Institutional capacity development for multi-disciplinary health research to support the health system rebuilding phase in Sierra Leone (RECAP-SL), Haja Wurie & Jo Raven PI (I am co-PI) EDCTP 2016- 2018

£7 million: COUNTDOWN: Calling Time on Neglected Tropical Diseases, A programme of Implementation Research to Inform the Effective and Sustainable Scaling-Up of Integrated Neglected Tropical Disease Control Initiatives (part of the core team for this with Mark Taylor and Russ Stothard)  DFID 2014-2020

£468,112: Cross Research Programme Consortia Partnership on Gender, Ethics and Health Systems co-PI with Asha George Catherine Molyneux, Sarah Ssali and Kate Hawkins. DFID, 2014-16

CAD$414,982:  Applied research on Health Extension Workers using e-health to strengthen equitable health systems in Southern Ethiopia Daniel Gemechu Datiko, PI, I am co-applicant  IDRC, 2014-17 

Euro 5.8 million: Reaching out and Linking in: Health systems and close to community services (REACHOUT, EU FP7, PI with Miriam Taegtmeyer 2013-18), partnership with Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique

£6,000,000: Research for building pro-poor health systems during the recovery from conflict (REBUILD). Partnerships with Uganda, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Cambodia. Directors Tim Martineau and Barbara Mcpake DFID 2011-2016

Previous Research grants

€2,995,323: Supporting decentralised management to improve health workforce performance in Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania (PERFORM) PI Tim Martineau . EU FP7 2011-15

US$250,000 Empowering district-level managers to improve Health Worker Performance in Nepal (Implementation Research Platform (IRP) , World Health Organization, 2013-15, PI Sushil Bharal)

US $999,560 Scaling up innovative community-based approaches to improve TB diagnosis and treatment among vulnerable and high risk populations TB REACH 2013-14 (PIs Luis Cuevas & Daniel Datiko)

$30,000: Consent to and Community Engagement in Health Research - Reviewing and Developing Research and Practice, meeting award with, Susan Bull; Phaikyeong Cheah; Khin Maung Lwin; Vicky March; Sassy Molyneux; Michael Parker; WELLCOME TRUST MEETING AWARD, 2011.

£22,533: Gender influences on child survival, health and nutrition: a narrative review. PI Rachel Tolhurst, UNICEF, 2011.

$689,163: Innovative community-based approaches for enhances tuberculosis case finding and treatment outcome in southern Ethiopia (PI with Mohammed Yassin). TB REACH, 2010-2011

$287,621: Increased detection of children, women and elderly individuals with smear-positive TB in Yemen (PI with Najla Al-Sonboli) .TB REACH, 2010-2011

£249,725: Identifying barriers to TB diagnosis and treatment under a new rapid diagnostic scheme. (PI with Luis Cuevas). ESRC/DFID 2008-2011.

£10,361: Reflection and experience sharing on context responsive capacity building and strengthening the research to policy and practice interface with National Research Council, Malawi and Consortium for National Health Research, Kenya PI. IDRC, 2009-10

£17,300: Gender mainstreaming in international health: Embracing new challenges; PI with Rachel Tolhurst. ESCRC Research seminars 2008-9.

£19,260: Strengthening the research to policy and practice interface: exploring strategies used by research organisations working on sexual and reproductive health and HIV and AIDS, PI. DFID 2009-10. 

Other relevant expertise, professional memberships etc.

  • Academic member on the ESRC Peer Review College – 2012-2014
  • Consortium Advisory Group Member for Resilient and Responsive Health Systems (RESYST) Research Programme Consortia
  • Associate Editor International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and occasional reviewer for a number of journals
  • Invited member for the Commission of the Social Determinants of Health Gender and Women's Health Knowledge Network


Selected publications

  • Selected Publications

    Theobald, S. MacPherson, E. Dean, L. Jacobson, J.  Ducker, C. Gyapong, M. Hawkins, K. Elphick-Pooley, T. Mackenzie, C.  Kelly-Hope, L. Fleming, F.  Mbabazi, P.  (2017)  20 years of Gender Mainstreaming in Health: Lessons and Reflections for the Neglected Tropical Diseases Community. BMJ Global Health. November 12, 2 (4) e000512; DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000512

     Datiko, D. Yassin, M. Theobald, S. Blok, L. Suvanand, S.  Creswell, J. Cuevas, L. (2017) Health extension workers improve tuberculosis case finding and treatment outcome in Ethiopia: a large-scale implementation study  November 02,  2  (4)  e000390;  DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000390

    Witter, S. Namakula, J. Wurie, H. Chriwa, Y. So, S. Vong, S. Ros, B, Buzuzi, S. & Theobald, S. The gendered health workforce:  mixed methods analysis from four fragile and post-conflict contexts, Health Policy and Planning. Volume 32, Issue suppl_5, 1 December 2017, Pages v52–v62,

    Kamuya, D. Molyneux, S.& Theobald, S. “Gendered negotiations for research participation in community based studies in Kenya: Implications for health systems research” BMJ Global Health DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000320 Published 7 June 2017

    Dhatt, R. Theobald, S. Buzuzi, S. Ros , B, Vong, S. Muraya, K. Molyneux, S. Hawkins, K. González-Beiras, C., Ronsin, K. Lichtenstein, D. Wilkins, Thompson, K,  Davis, K. Jackson, C. (2016) .The Role of Women’s Leadership and Gender Equity in Leadership and Health System Strengthening, Global Health, Epidemiology and Genomics, Volume 22017 , e8

    Morgan, R. George, A. Ssali, S. Hawkins, K. Molyneux, S. Theobald, S. (2016)How to do (or not to do)… gender analysis in health systems research. Health Policy Plan (2016) 31 (8): 1069-1078.