Dr Nadine Beckmann

Associate Professor in Social Science

United Kingdom

I'm a social anthropologist and lead the social science team at the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), a collaboration between the LSHTM and the UKHSA, focusing on research and capacity strengthening in the field of epidemic preparedness and response, as well as providing technical support during epidemic outbreak response. I'm interested in the integration of social science perspectives and approaches in public health interventions and research and have worked on cholera, HIV/AIDS, Islam, ethics and medical governance, collective action, sexual practice, and reproductive health. Geographically, much of my research has been in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, as well as in South Sudan and Malawi. I have also been working on a project on underlying reasons for ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes in the UK. Before joining the LSHTM, I taught anthropology at the University of Roehampton, development studies at the University of Leeds, and held research fellowships at Bradford University and the University of Oxford.


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


I teach on the MSc Control of Infectious Diseases programme and the module Medical Anthropology and Public Health. I also serve as departmental research degree convenor.


My key research areas include epidemic outbreak response and preparedness; gender, sexuality, and reproduction; life with HIV/AIDS, health care provision, and the politics of infectious disease control; Islam and Islamic reformism; Islamic ethics and bioethics; and civil society and collective action. I specialise in working with East African Muslim populations, but have also carried out research in Zimbabwe, as part of a large population-based HIV survey site.

I have conducted in-depth ethnographic fieldwork on life with HIV/AIDS, the rollout of antiretroviral treatment and the management of love, sex and romance on the Swahili coast; pregnancy care and childbirth decision-making in Zanzibar; and projects on the politicisation of AIDS activism; obstetric fistula in South Sudan and misclassification errors in rapid HIV testing in Zimbabwe. I also conduct operational research during outbreak response, including rapid ethnographic appraisals, integrated fact-finding missions on localised outbreaks, death investigations, analyses of risk communication and community engagement strategies, and vaccination campaign support.

I currently lead the Staying Alive project, which investigates how people try to survive in the context of multiple overlapping crises in eastern Zimbabwe; the Integrating Social Science Into the Africa CDC project; and contribute to studies investigating the translation of community feedback into decision making, and on Marburg virus in Guinea Bissau. I also work with the UK-PHRST to develop a social science research strategy for epidemic outbreak response, and as core-deployable member of the UK-PHRST I support epidemic outbreak responses in low- and middle-income countries, most recently the cholera epidemic in Malawi. Beyond infectious disease work, I am interested in everyday practice and the negotiation of sexual and reproductive health in the framework of Islamic bioethics; and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes.
Research Area
Medical anthropology
Social science (general)
Disease and Health Conditions
South Sudan
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Role and effectiveness of telephone hotlines in outbreak response in Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
FONGWEN, NT; Nchafack, A; Rohan, H; Ong, JJ; TUCKER, JD; BECKMANN, N; HUGHES, G; Peeling, RW;
PloS One
Temporal discrepancies in "rapid" HIV testing: explaining misdiagnoses at the point-of-care in Zimbabwe.
Skovdal, M; Jensen, FJ B; Maswera, R; BECKMANN, N; Nyamukapa, C; Gregson, S;
BMC Infectious Diseases
Rituals of care: Strategies adopted by HIV testers to avoid misdiagnosis in rapid HIV testing in Zimbabwe.
BECKMANN, N; Skovdal, M; Maswera, R; Nyamukapa, C; Gregson, S;
Global public health
The (In)visibility of Misdiagnosis in Point-of-Care HIV Testing in Zimbabwe.
Skovdal, M; BECKMANN, N; Maswera, R; Nyamukapa, C; Gregson, S;
Medical anthropology
Comprehensive investigation of sources of misclassification errors in routine HIV testing in Zimbabwe.
Gregson, S; Moorhouse, L; Dadirai, T; Sheppard, H; Mayini, J; BECKMANN, N; Skovdal, M; Dzangare, J; Moyo, B; Maswera, R; Pinsky, BA; Mharakurwa, S; Francis, I; Mugurungi, O; Nyamukapa, C;
Journal of the International AIDS Society
Improving health facility delivery rates in Zanzibar, Tanzania through a large-scale digital community health volunteer programme: a process evaluation.
Fulcher, IR; Nelson, AR; Tibaijuka, JI; Seif, SS; Lilienfeld, S; Abdalla, OA; BECKMANN, N; Layer, EH; Hedt-Gauthier, B; Hofmann, RL;
Health policy and planning
Safer Deliveries – A Qualitative Evaluation of Women’s Birth-Related Decision-Making and Community Health Volunteers’ Motivation. Report and Recommendations for D-Tree International
Pleasure and Danger. Muslim views on sex and gender in Zanzibar
Gendered Lives in the Western Indian Ocean: Islam, Marriage, and Sexuality on the Swahili Coast
The Quest for Trust in the Face of Uncertainty – Managing Pregnancy Outcomes in Zanzibar
Living through Uncertainty: Ethnographic Studies of Uncertainty in Africa
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