Dr Manuela Colombini


Associate Professor
in Health Systems and Policy and Gender Based Violence

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

I am an Associate professor in Health Systems and Policy and gender-based violence in the Department of Global Health and Development. I have conducted research in gender-based violence, integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health services in sub-saharan Africa and Asia for the past 19 years.

My areas of expertise include gender-based violence, health systems readiness, health systems strengthening, health policy analysis and policy implementation, integration of services; intervention development and evaluations, integration of VAW and violence against children. My research work draws on health systems and policy theoretical approaches (systems thinking, health systems readiness, agenda setting and policy implementation) and feminist theories such as gender theory and intersectionality.

My research has primarily focused on exploring how health systems factors affect development and integration of health interventions for vulnerable women and girls. I have also conducted formative and evaluation research to explore new intervention approaches to address violence against women (VAW) in the health sector; and translating evidence on health systems streghntening from promising interventions within different LMIC settings. I am particulalry interested in health systems readiness and have developed a conceptual framework to explore factors impacting on the readiness of health systesm to integrate services for women who experienced violence.

I am a member of the School’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and one of the co-founders of the School Gender Violence and Health Centre (GVHC).


Department of Global Health and Development


Centre for Evaluation
Centre for Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)


I am the Project Content Development Manager/Director of the new DL Master Health in Humanitarian Crises (since September 2022).

I am also Module Organiser for the distant learning course 'Health Policy, Process and Power'. In the past, I co-organised the Family Planning Programmes module (2013-2015).

I teach on distant learning courses on Health Systems and Policy in Sexual and Reproductive Health (MSc Sexual and Reproductive Health), and on Health Policy, Process and Power; Diploma in Tropical Nursing (Health service response to gender-based violence); Short course on Researching gender-based violence (health sector responses to violence against women).


My main research interests include violence against women and health sector responses, intersections between HIV and violence against women, integration of SRH and HIV services, interconnections between violence against women and violence against children.

I currently work on four research projects:

  1. Measuring health systems readiness of sexual and reproductive health clinics (in Brazil, Palestine, Nepal and Sri Lanka) to integrate care for intimate partner violence into their services (HERA, NIHR funded study);
  2. Exploring promising interventions that seek to prevent and/or respond to intimate partner violence against women and child maltreatment (systematic review funded by Innocenti, UNICEF);
  3. Developing a protocol and research tools for a multi-country evaluation study on One Stop Crisis Centres (in collaboration with WHO);
  4. Assessing the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on the help-seeking behaviour of survivors of violence and on service provision responding to violence against women in South Africa (in collaboration with the South African Medical Research Council).

I recently conducted 3 studies:

  • 1 assessing the health systems readiness of primary health clinics in Brazil and Palestine to integrate intimate partner violence into their services (MRC Global Challenges study);
  • 1 assessing the feasibility and acceptability of integrating gender-based violence within an HIV prevention package for young girls in South Africa and Tanzania (EMPOWER study with Wits RHI);
  •  1 evaluating the implementation of a brief counselling intervention for pregnant women who experienced IPV (Safe and Sound study with Wits RHI)

In the past, I led a project as Principal Investigator to evaluate the integration of IPV into antenatal care settings and health policies in Nepal and Sri Lanka (ADVANCE study). I was a also researcher on a larger study (INTEGRA) in Kenya and Swaziland. As part of Integra, I conducted research on providers’ and clients’ experiences with integrated care, and also on women’s views and experiences of partner violence following disclosure of their HIV status. As part of my PhD, I conducted the first health policy and systems evaluation of the One Stop Crisis Centres in Malaysia.

Research Area
Health care policy
Health policy
Health services research
Health systems
Primary care
Sexual health
Systematic reviews
Health workers
Implementation research
Qualitative methods
Reproductive health
Policy analysis
Social Sciences
Disease and Health Conditions
Burkina Faso
Sri Lanka
West Bank and Gaza
South Africa
East Asia & Pacific (developing only)
Latin America & Caribbean (developing only)
Middle East & North Africa (developing only)
South Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)

Selected Publications

Strengthening the health system response to domestic violence in occupied Palestinian Territory
Bacchus L; Alkaiyat A; Shaheen A; Alkhayyat A; Owda H; Haleseh R; Jeries I; Feder G; Sandouka R; Moreno CG
Improving health system readiness to address violence against women and girls: a conceptual framework.
Colombini M; Mayhew SH; García-Moreno C; d'Oliveira AF; Feder G; Bacchus LJ
BMC Health Services Research
Interventions in sexual and reproductive health services addressing violence against women in low-income and middle-income countries: a mixed-methods systematic review.
Lewis NV; Munas M; Colombini M; d'Oliveira AF; Pereira S; Shrestha S; Rajapakse T; Shaheen A; Rishal P; Alkaiyat A
BMJ Open
Prevalence and Risk Factors of PrEP Use Stigma Among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Johannesburg, South Africa and Mwanza, Tanzania Participating in the EMPOWER Trial.
Munthali RJ; Stangl AL; Baron D; Barré I; Harvey S; Ramskin L; Colombini M; Naicker N; Kapiga S; Delany-Moretlwe S
AIDS and Behavior
Adaptive work in the primary health care response to domestic violence in occupied Palestinian territory: a qualitative evaluation using Extended Normalisation Process Theory.
Bacchus LJ; Alkaiyat A; Shaheen A; Alkhayyat AS; Owda H; Halaseh R; Jeries I; Feder G; Sandouka R; Colombini M
BMC Family Practice
Are We Asking Too Much of the Health Sector? Exploring the Readiness of Brazilian Primary Healthcare to Respond to Domestic Violence Against Women.
d'Oliveira AFPL; Pereira S; Bacchus LJ; Feder G; Schraiber LB; Aguiar JMD; Bonin RG; Vieira Graglia CG; Colombini M
International Journal of Health Policy and Management
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