Professor Francesco Checchi


of Epidemiology and International Health


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7612 7861

I am an epidemiologist whose main expertise is quantitative public health measurement and disease control in crisis (armed conflict, natural disaster, epidemic) settings. I have worked for Medecins Sans Frontieres, the World Health Organization and as a consultant for a variety of other agencies. I have spent several years at the School (2004-2012, 2017-present), and in between led Save the Children's humanitarian health team.

I have mixed experience in research, policy formulation and operational programme delivery in difficult and insecure settings. By mixed I mean diverse...although come to think of it some of it is definitely mixed.

I don't have a specific disease focus, though in the past I have done work on malaria, human African trypanosomiasis, tuberculosis, cholera, Ebola, acute malnutrition and vaccines.

My views on and tentative proposals for the future of humanitarian health are in this lecture.


Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre


MSc module Epidemiology and Control of Communicable Diseases (co-organiser)

MSc module Conflict & Health

MSc module Applying Public Health Principles in Developing Countries

MSc module Extended Epidemiology (practicals only)

MSc in Humanitarian Health (co-director, under development)

I am on the MSc Epidemiology Exam Board.


I try to divide my time between academic research and technical support to humanitarian health actors, including UN agencies and NGOs, at global or field level.

My main area of activity is around improving public health information availability and use in ongoing crises worldwide (see this review). Specific projects include:

  • Work package lead for the RECAP programme, focussing on developing methods to measure the performance of humanitarian health and protection responses in real-time;
  • Estimating excess mortality due to crises through a mixture of secondary data collection and statistical analysis;
  • Optimisation of pneumococcal vaccination strategies for different crisis contexts.

At any time, I am usually involved in several other smaller-scale projects. As a consequence of my previous programmatic role at Save the Children, I am increasingly interested in work that substantively addresses key problems in the way humanitarian (health) work is currently done, such as governance, accountability and public health decision-making.

Research Area
Natural disasters

Selected Publications

How many are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease? Rapid global, regional and national estimates for 2020
Clark A; Jit M; Warren-Gash C; Guthrie B; Wang HHX; Mercer SW; Sanderson C; McKee M; Troeger C; Ong KI
Global, regional, and national estimates of the population at increased risk of severe COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions in 2020: a modelling study.
Clark A; Jit M; Warren-Gash C; Guthrie B; Wang HHX; Mercer SW; Sanderson C; McKee M; Troeger C; Ong KL
The Lancet. Global Health
COVID-19 control in low-income settings and displaced populations: what can realistically be done?
Dahab M; van Zandvoort K; Flasche S; Warsame A; Ratnayake R; Favas C; Spiegel PB; Waldman RJ; Checchi F
Conflict and Health
Erratum to Armed conflict and public health: into the 21st century.
Garry S; Checchi F
Journal of public health (Oxford, England)
Mobile clinics in humanitarian emergencies: a systematic review.
McGowan CR; Baxter L; Deola C; Gayford M; Marston C; Cummings R; Checchi F
Conflict and Health
Assessing community health worker service delivery in humanitarian settings.
Miller NP; Richards AK; Marx MA; Checchi F; Kozuki N
Journal of global health
Highly-targeted spatiotemporal interventions against cholera epidemics, 2000-2019: a scoping review
Ratnayake R; Finger F; Azman AS; Lantagne D; Funk S; Edmunds J; Checchi F
Lancet Infectious Diseases
See more Publications