Prof Joanna Schellenberg

Prof Epidemiology & International Health

United Kingdom

I'm an epidemiologist, and my research focus is the development and evaluation of public health interventions for newborn, infant, child, and maternal survival in low and middle income countries, including evaluation of equity as well as effectiveness. I was based in Tanzania for 9 years, and have been involved in collaborative research with Ifakara Health Institute since 1992. From 2019-2021 I was a visiting professor in the Institute of Global Health in the Faculty of Medicine at Geneva University. I have a particular interest in quality improvement in health care, in community-based interventions, in programme design for both sustainability and scale, and in embedding capacity development in global health research studies.


Department of Disease Control
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases


Malaria Centre
Centre for Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health
Vaccine Centre


I am co-director for the Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) Programme. I co-lead the London-based Master's module on Designing Public Health Programmes.


I am co-principal investigator for the second phase of the multi-disciplinary IDEAS project, which involves measurement, learning and evaluation for maternal and newborn health in Ethiopia, Nigeria and India as has a budget to date of $26m.  I am principal investigator of IDEAS’ sister project Dagu, which includes capacity development for public health evaluation in Ethiopia; and also led the evaluation of Safe Care, Saving Lives, a quality-improvement intervention for neonatal survival in Andhra Pradesh and Telegana States in India. Previously I led a cluster-randomised trial of a home-based counselling approach for newborn health, and worked on both intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in infants and as a technical advisor to the WHO multi-country evaluation of IMCI. In 1998 I started a birth cohort in the rural area surrounding Ifakara, Tanzania: in 2022 we published a first set of results from the long-term follow-up of this cohort, reporting a survival benefit in young adults of malaria control in early childhood.

Selected Publications

Embed capacity development within all global health research.
Adegnika, AA; Amuasi, JH; Basinga, P; BERHANU, D; Medhanyie, AA; OKWARAJI, YB; Persson, LÅ; Savadogo, B; SCHELLENBERG, J; Steinmann, P;
BMJ global health
Does a complex intervention targeting communities, health facilities and district health managers increase the utilisation of community-based child health services? A before and after study in intervention and comparison areas of Ethiopia.
BERHANU, D; OKWARAJI, YB; Defar, A; Bekele, A; Lemango, ET; Medhanyie, AA; Wordofa, MA; Yitayal, M; W/Gebriel, F; Desta, A; Gebregizabher, FA; Daka, DW; Hunduma, A; Beyene, H; Getahun, T; Getachew, T; Woldemariam, AT; Wolassa, D; Persson, LÅ; SCHELLENBERG, J;
Are We Using the Right Approach to Change Newborn Care Practices in the Community? Qualitative Evidence From Ethiopia and Northern Nigeria.
Hill, Z; SCHEELBEEK, P; Hamza, Y; Amare, Y; SCHELLENBERG, J;
Global health, science and practice
Measurement and accountability for maternal, newborn and child health: fit for 2030?
MARCHANT, T; Boerma, T; Diaz, T; Huicho, L; Kyobutungi, C; Mershon, C-H; SCHELLENBERG, J; Somers, K; Waiswa, P; Nairobi Group,;
How and under what circumstances do quality improvement collaboratives lead to better outcomes? A systematic review.
ZAMBONI, K; Baker, U; Tyagi, M; SCHELLENBERG, J; Hill, Z; HANSON, C;
Effective coverage of antenatal care services in Ethiopia: a population-based cross-sectional study.
Abdissa, Z; Alemu, K; Lemma, S; BERHANU, D; Defar, A; Getachew, T; SCHELLENBERG, J; MARCHANT, T; Shiferaw, S; Tariku, A; Guadu, T; Taye, G; Zelalem, M; PERSSON, LA;
BMC pregnancy and childbirth
Data-driven decision-making for district health management: a cluster-randomised study in 24 districts of Ethiopia.
Avan, BI; Dubale, M; Taye, G; MARCHANT, T; Persson, LÅ; SCHELLENBERG, J;
BMJ global health
Understanding rural women's preferences for telephone call engagement with primary health care providers in Nigeria: a discrete choice experiment.
UMAR, N; Hill, Z; SCHELLENBERG, J; Sambo, NU; Shuaibu, A; Aliyu, AM; Kulani, KK; Abdullahi, MU; Usman, A; Mohammed, H; Adamu, H; Ibrahim, M; Mohammed, A; Abdulhamid, A; Muhammed, Z; Alfayo, A; MARCHANT, T;
BMJ global health
Harmonizing Data Visualizations on Child Health and Well-Being to Strengthen Advocacy and Monitoring Efforts.
Requejo, JH; Strong, K; Aboud, F; AGWEYU, A; Billah, SM; Black, M; Boschi-Pinto, C; Horiuchi, S; JAMALUDDINE, Z; LAZZERINI, M; Maiga, A; Munos, M; SCHELLENBERG, J; Weigel, R; Sacks, E; Child Health Accountability Technical Advisory Gro,;
Global health, science and practice
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