Dr Dina Balabanova
in Health Systems/Policy
15-17 Tavistock Place
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.
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).