Professor Betty Kirkwood


of Epidemiology & International Health

Room 181

Keppel Street
United Kingdom

+44 20 7958 8105 (or 8149)

+44 20 7958 8111

I am an epidemiologist with a statistical background and have worked at the School since 1979. My research has been driven by a desire to improve the health of young children in low and middle income countries, and of their mothers. My substantive research is accompanied by a commitment to translating research findings into health policy and programme action and to research capacity strengthening. I have an extensive network of overseas collaborators and close links with the World Health Organization. I am a fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health and of the Academy of Medical Sciences.


Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health
Department of Population Health


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


I contribute to a range of in house MSc courses including epidemiology in practice, statistics with computing, study design, public health lecture series, and current issues in safe motherhood and perinatal health. I am tutor to the MSc Public Health in Developing Countries. I enjoy teaching and believe in a student-centred, problem-based approach. I am committed to making complex methodological concepts accessible to non-specialists; this led to my textbook “Essential Medical Statistics”, first published in 1988. The second edition of Essential Medical Statistics is co-authored with Jonathan Sterne and was published in May 2003 ( I also very much enjoy tutoring research degree students.


My main current research interests are trials evaluating the impact of:

  • home visits by community volunteers to reduce neonatal mortality in rural Ghana;
  • an integrated community-based intervention to improve child development, growth and survival in India & Pakistan;
  • newborn vitamin A supplementation;
  • innovations to improve performance of community based agents delivering integrated management of common childhood illnesses in Uganda & Mozambique;
  • public health interventions to detect and treat common mental disorders in Goa;

I am also a member of the strategic management group for the Informed Decisions for Actions (IDEAS) project, which aims to build a better evidence base to guide future maternal and newborn health programmes.

Research Area
Child health
Clinical trials
Complex interventions
Perinatal health
Behaviour change
Impact evaluation
Implementation research
Randomised controlled trials
Disease and Health Conditions
Mental health
Least developed countries: UN classification
South Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Effect of the Newhints home-visits intervention on neonatal mortality rate and care practices in Ghana: a cluster randomised controlled trial.
Kirkwood, B.R.; Manu, A.; ten Asbroek, A.H.; Soremekun, S.; Weobong, B.; Gyan, T.; Danso, S.; Amenga-Etego, S.; Tawiah-Agyemang, C.; Owusu-Agyei, S.; Hill, Z.;
Efficacy of early neonatal vitamin A supplementation in reducing mortality during infancy in Ghana, India and Tanzania: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
NEOVITA Study Author Group; Bahl, R.; Bhandari, N.; Dube, B.; Edmond, K.; Fawzi, W.; Fontaine, O.; Kaur, J.; Kirkwood, B.R.; Martines, J.; Masanja, H.; Mazumder, S.; Msham, S.; Newton, S.; Oleary, M.; Ruben, J.; Shannon, C.; Smith, E.; Taneja, S.; Yoshida, S.;
How changes in coverage affect equity in maternal and child health interventions in 35 Countdown to 2015 countries: an analysis of national surveys
Victora, C. G.; Barros, A. J. D.; Axelson, H.; Bhutta, Z. A.; Chopra, M.; Franca, G. V. A.; Kerber, K.; Kirkwood, B. R.; Newby, H.; Ronsmans, C.; Boerma, J. T.
Interventions to Improve Motivation and Retention of Community Health Workers Delivering Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM): Stakeholder Perceptions and Priorities.
Strachan, D.L. ; Källander, K. ; Ten Asbroek, A.H. ; Kirkwood, B. ; Meek, S.R. ; Benton, L. ; Conteh, L. ; Tibenderana, J. ; Hill, Z. ;
Am J Trop Med Hyg
India: Towards Universal Health Coverage 2 Reproductive health, and child health and nutrition in India: meeting the challenge
Paul, V.K.; Sachdev, H.S.; Mavalankar, D.; Ramachandran, P.; Sankar, M.J.; Bhandari, N.; Sreenivas, V.; Sundararaman, T.; Govil, D.; Osrin, D.; Kirkwood, B.
Effect of vitamin A supplementation in women of reproductive age on maternal survival in Ghana (ObaapaVitA): a cluster-randomised, placebo-controlled trial.
Kirkwood, B.R.; Hurt, L.; Amenga-Etego, S.; Tawiah, C.; Zandoh, C.; Danso, S.; Hurt, C.; Edmond, K.; Hill, Z.; Ten Asbroek, G.; Fenty, J.; Owusu-Agyei, S.; Campbell, O.; Arthur, P.; ObaapaVitA Trial Team, .;
Maternal and Child Undernutrition 3 - What works? Interventions for maternal and child undernutrition and survival
Bhutta, Z.A.; Ahmed, T.; Black, R.E.; Cousens, S.; Dewey, K.; Giugliani, E.; Haider, B.A.; Kirkwood, B.; Morris, S.S.; Sachdev, H.P.S.; Shekar, M.
Delayed breastfeeding initiation increases risk of neonatal mortality.
Edmond, K.M.; Zandoh, C.; Quigley, M.A.; Amenga-Etego, S.; Owusu-Agyei, S.; Kirkwood, B.R.;
See all Professor Betty Kirkwood's Publications