Joanna Busza BA MSc

Associate Professor in Sexual & Reproductive Health


Joanna Busza joined LSHTM in 2001 after working in Southeast Asia on evaluating HIV prevention programmes for marginalised populations. She has over 20 years of international research experience on HIV, sexual and reproductive behaviour, and the social determinants of risk among vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups, particularly sex workers and mobile populations.

Joanna's focus is on applied research, including the design and evaluation of targeted, community-based sexual and reproductive health interventions. She has particicular expertise in the use of qualitative and participatory methods, both in conducting research and as a means to create enabling social environments for risk reduction.

She completed the MSc Medical Demography at LSHTM in 1997. Prior to that, she worked for reproductive health and human rights NGOs in the Middle East, and did an undergraduate degree in Political Science.

Currently, she is based as a Technical Advisor at the WHO Ethiopia Country Office in Addis Ababa.




Joanna conducts training in research, monitoring, and evaluation skills for NGO and other institutions based in developing countries. She also develops and conducts short training packages on a range of topics including behaviour change interventions, reaching marginalised populations, and using participatory approaches. She recently helepd design Ethiopia's national training curricula for Maternal Death Surveillance and Response, and helped set up a "cascade" training programme that has now reached 1500+ health professionals.

At LSHTM, Joanna has taught on Social Epidemiology, Family Planning Programmes, Foundations in Reproductive Health, and Research Design and Analysis.


Joanna's research concerns meeting the health needs of "hard to reach" communities, including sex workers, undocumented migrants, and street children. She has also provided technical assistance to researchers in developing countries for designing, monitoring and evaluating new sexual and reproductive health interventions.

Joanna currently works in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. She serves as Community Health Advisor (Ethiopia) for Evidence for Action (E4A), which aims to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in six sub-Sharan African countries. The project is based at the WHO country office and provides support to the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health for implementation of the national Maternal Death Surveillance & Response (MDSR) system. She is also starting new work on the experiences of young Ethiopian women seeking domestic work abroad, including the evaluation of interventions to reduce migration-related risks.

In Zimbabwe, Joanna is involved in evaluating interventions to increase uptake of HIV treatment by two very different (but similarly neglected) populations: sex workers and children aged 6-15.

Research areas

  • Adolescent health
  • Behaviour change
  • Complex interventions
  • Evaluation
  • Gender
  • Health services research
  • Health workers
  • Implementation research
  • Maternal health
  • Migration
  • Mixed methods
  • Qualitative methods
  • Quality improvement
  • Reproductive health
  • Risk
  • Sexual health
  • Social and structural determinants of health


  • Anthropology
  • Demography
  • Operational research

Disease and Health Conditions

  • Sexually transmitted infection


  • East Asia & Pacific (developing only)
  • Europe & Central Asia (developing only)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)


  • Ethiopia
  • Zimbabwe

Other interests

  • Adherence
  • Adolescent HIV
  • Antiretrovirals
  • Community Health Workers
  • Community Mobilisation
  • Developing countries
  • Discrimination and Stigma
  • Family Planning
  • Female sex work
  • HIV
  • High-risk groups
  • Marginalised Populations
  • Maternal And Child Health
  • Member Of MARCH
  • Monitoring And Evaluation
  • Nvivo
  • Participatory Research
  • Sex Work
  • Transactional sex
  • capacity building
  • migration and health
  • sexual behaviour
  • social determinants of health
  • young people
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