Dr Melisa Martinez-Alvarez


Assistant Professor

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 207 927 2531

I joined The School in 2008 after working for the NGO sector. I have a BSc in Biology from Imperial College London, an MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases and a PhD in Health Systems Economics from the LSHTM. I have worked on projects on the application of macro-economics to health and the economics of globalization and health (focusing on India and Europe) before undertaking a PhD exploring the effectiveness of Development Assistance for Health in Tanzania. For my PhD work I used a political economy framework and mixed methods to study the effect of development assistance for health in the health sector in Tanzania.

After a number of projects in Tanzania, Malawi and China, I relocated to Dakar, where I am now based with the MRC Unit in The Gambia at the LSHTM. As part of my work I am developing a programme of research on health systems and maternal health in Senegal and The Gambia. 


Department of Global Health and Development
Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Medical Research Council


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


My research interests lie in health financing in low- and middle-income countries, including from the supply side (including government expenditure on health, public financial management and external resources for health), the demand side (social protection and access to health care) and at the global level (development assistance and fiscal space). I am particularly interested in equity, including the targeting of resources to those in need and access to health care, particularly removing financial barriers.

My current research projects apply a health systems lens to maternal, newborn and child health.

Research Area
Child health
Complex interventions
Health care financing
Health care policy
Health policy
Health systems
Maternal health
Primary care
Social and structural determinants of health
Disease control
Global Health
International comparisons
Mixed methods
Neonatal health
Qualitative methods
Reproductive health
Health economics
Development studies
Policy analysis
Social Sciences
Disease and Health Conditions
Infectious disease
Democratic Republic of the Congo
East Asia & Pacific (all income levels)
Least developed countries: UN classification
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)

Selected Publications

What the percentage of births in facilities does not measure: readiness for emergency obstetric care and referral in Senegal.
Cavallaro FL; Benova L; Dioukhane EH; Wong K; Sheppard P; Faye A; Radovich E; Dumont A; Mbengue AS; Ronsmans C
BMJ global health
Equity of resource flows for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health: are those most in need being left behind?
Martinez-Alvarez M; Federspiel F; Singh NS; Schäferhoff M; Lewis Sabin M; Onoka C; Mounier-Jack S; Borghi J; Pitt C
COVID-19 pandemic in west Africa.
Martinez-Alvarez M; Jarde A; Usuf E; Brotherton H; Bittaye M; Samateh AL; Antonio M; Vives-Tomas J; D'Alessandro U; Roca A
Lancet Glob Health
Barriers to accessing maternal healthcare among ethnic minority women in Western China: a qualitative evidence synthesis.
Huang Y; Martinez-Alvarez M; Shallcross D; Pi L; Tian F; Pan J; Ronsmans C
Health policy and planning
Health financing at district level in Malawi: an analysis of the distribution of funds at two points in time.
Borghi J; Munthali S; Million LB; Martinez-Alvarez M
Health policy and planning
Trends In The Alignment And Harmonization Of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, And Child Health Funding, 2008-13.
Martinez-Alvarez M; Acharya A; Arregoces L; Brearley L; Pitt C; Grollman C; Borghi J
Health affairs (Project Hope)
Cost-Effectiveness Thresholds in Global Health: Taking a Multisectoral Perspective.
Remme M; Martinez-Alvarez M; Vassall A
Value in health
Subnational variation for care at birth in Tanzania: is this explained by place, people, money or drugs?
Armstrong CE; Martínez-Álvarez M; Singh NS; John T; Afnan-Holmes H; Grundy C; Ruktanochai CW; Borghi J; Magoma M; Msemo G
BMC public health
Is Development Assistance for Health fungible? Findings from a mixed methods case study in Tanzania.
Martínez Álvarez M; Borghi J; Acharya A; Vassall A
Social science & medicine (1982)
See more Publications