Dr Dina Balabanova


Associate Professor
in Health Systems/Policy

TP 308

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7927 2104

I am an Associate Professor in Health Systems & Policy in the Department of Global Health and Development, with over 20 years of experience in health systems and policy research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). My main expertise is in health systems governance, institution building and effective delivery models.

I have served as an elected Board member of Health Systems Global, a professional society for health policy and systems research (2012-18), and co-founder and former co-chair of its Thematic Working Group on Teaching and Learning Health Policy and Systems research, as well as a Member of various WHO Expert Groups and global commissions. I am BMC Health Services Research Editorial Board member and Section Editor for Health Systems and Services in Low and Middle Income Settings.


Department of Global Health and Development
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


Centre for Evaluation
Centre for Global Chronic Conditions


I have developed, and as a Module Lead, oversee the LSHTM Health Systems modules (face-to-face and distance learning). I currently supervise PhD students working on social innovation in Malawi and LMICs, the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone and NCD/HIV comparative policy analysi in Botswana.   


I have been principal investigator on complex interdisciplinary multi-method projects involving comparative work on health systems and governance, such as the ‘Good Health at Low Cost 25 years on’ project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation examining ways in which good governance and accountability has promoted major advances in health and access to services in some LMICs compared to others at a similar level of wealth.  

I am increasingly involved in assessment of health systems responses to the growing burden of conditions requiring complex inputs in terms of treatment, follow-up and care processes, such as diabetes and hypertension. Currently I am a Co-PI on a project funded by Wellcome Trust/ Newton Fund-MRC Humanities & Social Science Collaborative Award exploring barriers to effective and continuous hypertension treatment among poor and vulnerable households in Malaysia and the Philippines, and building technical and political capacity to respond to the needs of these groups. 

I have a long-standing interest in understanding corruption in health systems. I currently lead the health system research under the innovative Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE), a DFID-funded research consortium in Bangladesh, Nigeria and Tanzania. This draws on my past research on informal practices in health systems. The work under ACE explores the providers’ incentives to engage in rent-seeking—informal payments, absenteeism, pharmaceutical market distortion etc.—and the possible trade-offs using qualitative analyses and Discrete Choice Experiments. The research seeks to identify feasible strategies, tailored to particular actors and situations, to address corruption.

I have led work on developing effective and equitable primary care models for underserved populations involving community volunteers (Ethiopia, PI/HSRI grant), building resilient health systems (Sierra Leone, Co-I/HSRI) and integrating vertical, health system-wide and cross-sectoral interventions in responding to neglected tropical diseases in the context of decentralisation (Kenya, Co-I/MRC Global Health Trials). 

Research Area
Complex interventions
Health care financing
Health care policy
Health inequalities
Health policy
Health sector development
Health services research
Health systems
Maternal health
Primary care
Health workers
Capacity strengthening
Global Health
Mixed methods
Implementation research
Qualitative methods
Policy analysis
Social Sciences
Disease and Health Conditions
Chronic disease
Cervical cancer
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Non-communicable diseases
Sierra Leone
East Asia & Pacific (developing only)
Europe & Central Asia (developing only)
Least developed countries: UN classification
South Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

The Long and Winding Road: A Systematic Literature Review Conceptualising Pathways for Hypertension Care and Control in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.
Brathwaite R; Hutchinson E; McKee M; Palafox B; Balabanova D
International Journal of Health Policy and Management
Nasa dugo ('It's in the blood'): lay conceptions of hypertension in the Philippines.
Lasco G; Mendoza J; Renedo A; Seguin ML; Palafox B; Palileo-Villanueva LM; Amit AML; Dans AL; Balabanova D; McKee M
BMJ global health
Connecting communities to primary care: a qualitative study on the roles, motivations and lived experiences of community health workers in the Philippines.
Mallari E; Lasco G; Sayman DJ; Amit AML; Balabanova D; McKee M; Mendoza J; Palileo-Villanueva L; Renedo A; Seguin M
BMC health services research
Maintaining population health in low- and middle-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic: Why we should be investing in Community Health Workers.
Palafox B; Renedo A; Lasco G; Palileo-Villanueva L; Balabanova D; McKee M
Tropical medicine & international health : TM & IH
A public-private partnership for dialysis provision in Ethiopia: a model for high-cost care in low-resource settings.
Paltiel O; Berhe E; Aberha AH; Tequare MH; Balabanova D
Health policy and planning
Systematic review of frameworks used to conceptualise health pathways of individuals diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases.
Seguin ML; Rangnekar A; Renedo A; Palafox B; McKee M; Balabanova D
BMJ global health
Universities as catalysts of social innovation in health systems in low-and middle-income countries: a multi-country case study.
van Niekerk L; Mathanga DP; Juban N; Castro-Arroyave DM; Balabanova D
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
Crowdsourcing to identify social innovation initiatives in health in low- and middle-income countries.
van Niekerk L; Ongkeko A; Hounsell RA; Msiska BK; Mathanga DP; Mothe J; Juban N; Awor P; Balabanova D
Infectious diseases of poverty
See more Publications