Dr Luisa Enria

Associate Professor

United Kingdom

My work applies approaches from political anthropology to studying community experiences of epidemic preparedness and response and humanitarian emergency interventions. I am also interested in the integration of social science perspectives in biomedical interventions and scientific research, and in particular the tensions and possibilities of interdisciplinary collaborations. I currently hold a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for a project titled "Crisis of Confidence: the Politics of Evidence and (Mis)Trust in Epidemic Preparedness and Response".

From 2016-20 I was a Lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath, where I also held an ESRC Fellowship for a project titled 'States of Emergency: Citizenship in Crisis in Sierra Leone'. In 2015-16 I worked as a Research Fellow at LSHTM based in Kambia, Northern Sierra Leone, working in the Ebola Vaccine Trials (EBOVAC) and carrying out ethnographic research on community experiences of the Ebola outbreak and its associated response, a project I continue to be involved in. In 2015 I completed a DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford, where my thesis explored the relationship between unemployment and political violence in post-war Sierra Leone, based on field research with young men and women in Freetown. This is now published as a book by James Currey titled "The Politics of Work in a Post-Conflict State: Youth, Labour and Violence in Sierra Leone " (2018)


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


Vaccine Centre
Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre


I am co-module organiser for the Distance Learning Medical Anthropology module and I teach on Conflict & Health and the MSc Health in Humanitarian Crises


My research interests are in the politics of emergencies and emergency response. This has included research on youth political mobilisation in relation to post-conflict reconstruction, communities' engagement with biomedical research, the effects of epidemics on re-ordering state-society relations and the socio-political dynamics underpinning vaccination campaigns in humanitarian settings.

Current projects include:

- Crisis of Confidence: exploring the everyday negotiations over evidence and between types of knowledge and disciplines across the different spaces that make up epidemic preparedness and response, from global policy-making to field interventions.

- PULSE: a real time evaluation of community engagement approaches for vaccination in humanitarian settings in Ethiopia and Nigeria

- EBOVAC: I support the social science research component of the Ebola vaccine trials taking place in Kambia, Sierra Leone. Our research includes community experiences and perspectives of the trial, community-based epidemic preparedness and legacies of biomedical research

Past projects

- AVID: I led the Sierra Leone country case study for the Anthropology of Vaccine Deployment, focusing on the political economy of vaccine deployment and epidemic preparedness at District and National Level

- CHW-led research: I was the research lead on two connected projects to train Community Health Workers in Sierra Leone in social science methods to carry out research in their communities on vaccine hesitancy and more recently experiences of COVID-19 and associated response measures

- Interdisciplinary research on the impact of COVID-19 on health service delivery and utilisation in Sierra Leone, Uganda and DRC

- Community engagement for NTDs: I co-led a social science study for Helen Keller Sierra Leone on the socio-political dynamics of NTD control

- COVID-19 perception surveys: I am involved in a UK-based survey on experiences of the pandemic, and an adaptation of the survey for the Sierra Leonean context

- COVID-19 in Palestine: ELRHA-funded project on pandemic response measures in Gaza

- States of Emergency: a study on how moments of crisis reshape young people's experiences of citizenship, through the case study of Ebola in Sierra Leone
Research Area
Social science (general)
Political science
Development studies
Disease and Health Conditions
Ebola virus
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Emerging infectious diseases
Infectious diseases
Sierra Leone
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)
Europe & Central Asia (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Continuity and Rupture in Crisis: from Ebola to COVID-19 in Sierra Leone and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
James, M; MANSARAY, A; Thige, FO; Mafinda, M; Kasonia, KK; Paluku, JK; Timbo, AD; Karenzi, L; Ntabala, F; Tindanbil, D; Leigh, B; Kavunga-Membo, H; WATSON-JONES, D; GALLAGHER, K; ENRIA, L;
Global public health
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the provision & utilisation of primary health care services in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kambia district, Sierra Leone & Masaka district, Uganda.
Kasonia, K; Tindanbil, D; KITONSA, J; BAISLEY, K; Zalwango, F; ENRIA, L; MANSARAY, A; James, M; Nije, Y; Tata, DT; Lawal, BJ; Drammeh, A; Lowe, B; Mukadi-Bamuleka, D; MOUNIER-JACK, S; Nakiyimba, F; Obady, P; Muhavi, J; Bangura, JS; GREENWOOD, B; Samai, M; Leigh, B; WATSON-JONES, D; Kavunga-Membo, H; RUZAGIRA, E; ... GALLAGHER, KE.
PloS One
Changing gear: Experiences of how existing qualitative research can adapt to an unfolding health emergency.
Jones, T; ENRIA, L; LEES, S; MARCHANT, M; Tulloch, O;
Frontiers in sociology
Human preparedness: Relational infrastructures and medical countermeasures in Sierra Leone.
Lee, SJ; Vernooij, E; ENRIA, L; Kelly, AH; Rogers, J; Ansumana, R; Bangura, MH; LEES, S; Street, A;
Global public health
States of Feeling
Andreetta, S; ENRIA, L; Jarroux, P; Verheul, S;
The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
Family Planning in the Sierra Leone Ebola Outbreak: Women's Proximal and Distal Reasoning.
MCKAY, G; ENRIA, L; Nam, SL; Fofanah, M; Conteh, SG; LEES, S;
Studies in family planning
Attributing public ignorance in vaccination narratives.
Vanderslott, S; ENRIA, L; BOWMER, A; Kamara, A; LEES, S;
Social science & medicine (1982)
Negotiating the Role of Anthropological Evidence in Medical Research during Health Emergencies
Anthropology in Action: Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice
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