Global Health


Equitable access to quality health systems in lower and middle income countries is a significant theme of our Global Health Research. Capacity building with our partners in LMICs and ensuring our outputs are relevant to policy makers is central to our philosophy. 

Aims of our research

Our main themes are in surgery, trauma, non-communicable (especially cardiovascular) diseases and multimorbidity; the common thread running through these specialties is the requirement for a strong and coordinated platform of care to deliver patient-relevant outcomes. We have projects with many country partners. In addition to the health system stream, there is also strong focus on the health effects of household air pollution and improving maternal and neonatal health, including encouraging breast feeding.

We have an extensive portfolio of multi-disciplinary research addressing major global health challenges and we are continually looking for other research opportunities in this area.

Current research projects

In Rwanda, injury causes 9% of deaths; 47% occurring before-hospital. Similar to many LMICs, Rwanda experiences long delays in getting patients to hospital, with all communication between patients, ambulances, and hospitals done using multiple phone-calls. To overcome these difficulties, a local software firm designed Rwanda912, a novel electronic tool for use in low resource settings. Rwanda912 uses an ambulance Destination Decision Support Algorithm (DDSA) which regularly collects information from hospitals on availability of staff and equipment, and from the ambulance crew on patient status; it uses this information to match the patient with the nearest able hospital. It has been endorsed by the Rwandan Ministry of Health (MoH) and won local innovation awards.

Transforming the Treatment and Prevention of Leprosy and Buruli ulcers in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), was awarded by the NIHR in the UK through its Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) call.

Working across three countries - Nigeria, Nepal and India, the overall aim of the project is to improve self-care in the community for leprosy patients who are at risk of recurrent ulceration and further disfigurement and disability and to better understand the needs of Buruli ulcer patients and the barriers to meeting those needs.

Infant diarrhoea is globally the second highest cause of death in under-fives. Children who are transitioning from being breastfed to eating foods, known as weanlings, are at particular risk from diarrhoea. This study examines interventions aimed at reducing the burden of diarrhoea among weanlings, particularly behavioural interventions that influence food hygiene, food content and safe play.

Aims to identify barriers in access to quality care for people who have been injured in lower and middle income countries, in particular Ghana, South Africa, and Rwanda.

This project is funded by the NIHR Global Health Policy and Systems Research (130036) and the Institute for Global Health Innovation at the University of Birmingham.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term incapacitating respiratory condition. The main causes, including smoking and exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution are more common in low and middle income countries (LMIC). Breathe Well's aim is to foster research in primary care and the community to improve the diagnosis, management and prognosis of COPD patients in these areas.

Led by Professor KK Cheng, Director of the Institute of Applied Health Research and in close collaboration with colleagues from the NHS and Health Education England, this team has over ten years’ experience in working at various levels with colleagues in China in their redevelopment of primary healthcare and general practice. A key objective is to develop cohorts of future leaders and relevant infrastructure in health policy, health service management, clinical care delivery, education and research that are essential for a thriving primary care system.

Working with global partners to develop community-based research and capacity to increase awareness and management of AF in lower and middle income countries (LMICs).

Established in July 2017 following substantial investment (£7M) from the National Institute of Health Research Overseas Development Aid funds.  The Unit is led by University of Birmingham in partnership with the Universities of Edinburgh and Warwick, along with partners from the GlobalSurg Collaborative in a number of Low and Middle Income countries (LMICs) to perform critically needed research into surgical service across the world.

A collaborative research project between the Universities of Birmingham and Hong Kong and The Guangzhou Number Twelve People's Hospital in China.

A systems approach to air pollution in East Africa, aiming to improve air quality management in three cities: Addis Ababa, Kampala and Nairobi.

NIHR Global Health Group on Equitable Access to Quality Health Care for Injured People in Four Low or Middle Income Countries.


The overarching aim of our teaching is to produce the global health leaders of tomorrow.  We do this with various courses; undergraduate and masters. We also take on PhD students.

We strive to increase knowledge of these issues and provide the skills to be able to locally address the health burden through increasing access to our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. All our innovative, high quality programmes offer a Global Health perspective.

Our Institute is directly involved with the Global Health and Further Global Health modules of the Masters in Public Health (MPH), coordinated by Suzanne Bartington. This is a modular multidisciplinary programme in public health, which offers a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters of Public Health. Students choosing an appropriate set of modules can elect to be awarded the MPH (Global Health) qualification.

IAHR staff also contribute to teaching elsewhere with a global health focus – particularly the Global Health strand of the intercalated BMedSc for medical students and those on other taught strands also do international projects. The overall PoSH programme is led by Carole Cummins and the Public Health and Population Science strand is jointly led by Jayne Parry and Derek Ward, the International Health strand being led from the Institute of Clinical Sciences (ICS).