Dr Semira Manaseki-Holland FRCP, FFPHM, MRCPCH, PhD, MPH, MBBS, BMedSci

Dr Semira Manaseki-Holland

Institute of Applied Health Research
Reader in Public Health

Contact details

Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Semira Manaseki-Holland trained as a public health physician in England with joint qualifications in paediatrics with research leadership focus on health systems and maternal-child health. Semira has focussed on research and service development in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) over a 25-year period. Semira worked in the NHS for 9 years after which she intensified her global health research and health systems policy and planning, including living and working for two years in Mongolia, and 6 years in Afghanistan. Semira has worked extensively with WHO, UN agencies, Ministries of Health and NGOs on a variety of settings and health programmes. 

Semira’s pioneering international work includes conducting the first randomized control trials in Mongolia and Afghanistan. As CEO for Central Asia for a large multi-national NGO (Aga Khan Health Services, AKHS) between 2005-2009 she managed the delivery of Afghanistan’s integrated primary and secondary healthcare services in 3 provinces, which ranged from provincial hospitals to district/village clinics. In the same role, she supported national health care delivery and reform systems in two remote, mountainous provinces of Tajikistan. Semira also managed the operations of three midwifery training colleges and academic research in Afghanistan and cross-border healthcare systems between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

At the University of Birmingham, in 2012, Semira founded the Master’s in Public Health International (now named MPH Global Health) and directed it until 2019. Semira conducts global health research in maternal child health, health systems, complex community or health systems interventions, often within a randomised controlled trial design context. She also has an area of research in the UK surrounding mortality case note reviews in hospitals. Semira is the Health Lead for Institute of Global Innovation (IGI)  challenge themes “Water Challenges in a Challenging world” and “Clean Air”.  Semira teaches students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including supervision of a number of PhDs based in the UK, Africa and India.

Maternal Health Heroes



  • Associate Membership of the Higher Education Academy (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice: Further Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University of Birmingham (UoB)) - 2015
  • Fellowship of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh - 2009
  • Fellowship of Faculty of Public Health Medicine of Royal College of Physicians London - 2009
  • PhD Paediatric Epidemiology LSHTM- 2002 to 2005
  • Masters in Public Health Medicine and Epidemiology - 1995 to 1997
  • Membership of Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health - 1997
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery - 1985 to 1991
  • Bachelor of Medical Science with Honours - 1987 to 1988


Semira Manaseki-Holland graduated from University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Medical School with a BMedSci, MBBS and MPH. Semira has clinical experience in General Medicine and Paediatrics with Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Paediatric and Child Health and Faculty of Public Health, where she is now a Fellow.  She worked as an NHS Public Health/Child Health Consultant in Birmingham Health Authority (then the largest health authority in the UK) and a Technical Officer at the WHO HQ, Geneva, before starting her Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) towards her PhD from 2002-2005.

Here she conducted the first ever randomised controlled trial in Mongolia investigating the health effects of swaddling by following 1300 birth cohort of children for 3.5 years with over 200 clinical and non-clinical research staff. In this time, she continued collaboration with the UN and other international agencies on maternal and child health projects and with the Ministry of Health and the University Medical School of Mongolia developing public health programmes and their evaluation.

Semira moved to Afghanistan from 2004-2010 to work with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO, Save the Children, JICA and other international agencies. For 3.5 years, she was the Central Asia CEO for an international health NGO, Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), stationed in Kabul. In this role she directed and managed health system development and service delivery in 3 deprived and hard-to-access provinces of Afghanistan and 2 in Tajikistan while collaborating with projects in Pakistan and continuing research in Mongolia. Both Afghanistan and Tajikistan programmes expanded in size and scope two-fold during her leadership as she managed over 420 international and national professional staff, 400 support staff, 1100 community health volunteers and a budget of US$10.5mil/year.

In both countries, she worked as an advisor to the MOH in health system restructuring and served as a member of the Ethical Review Board of the Ministry of Public Health. AKHS-Afghanistan responsibilities comprised the management of over 300 facilities ranging from 2 provincial hospitals to 268 village health posts and 3 Community Midwifery Schools (CME).

She directed the implementation of the first Afghan tele-medicine programme, numerous censuses and household surveys and formal research projects as PI in collaboration with LSHTM and Aga Khan University-Karachi (including 2 first ever RCTs in Kabul). The largest of these studies, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Council, was an 18-month follow-up of 3,050 infants with vitamin D supplementation in Kabul – the largest RCT in Afghanistan held to date. In AKHS-Tajikistan also the programme expanded geographically, in health systems improvement and training programmes as she introduced clinical audit, implemented the second Tajik pilot of ‘Family Medicine’ primary care provision, expanded the Afghan-Tajik Border-healthcare services and managed numerous research training programmes and surveys.

On return to the UK in 2010, Semira joined University of Birmingham Public Health Department, working in quality of health service improvement projects in the UK and on health systems and maternal child health studies in low and middle-income countries. She currently conducts active research in the Gambia, Nigeria, Zambia, India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and other LMIC. Semira’s research topics in LMIC include childhood vitamin D deficiency, weaning food hygiene interventions, adolescent health services, perineal trauma prevention and management, maternity services quality of care improvement and continuity/integration of care and clinical handover in NCDs, patient-held records, medical devices, general health systems development in LMIC and inequalities in health. 

Semira also has an active programme in the UK looking into preventable mortality/quality improvement in hospitals and the role of case note reviews. This research programme includes investigating tools for measurement of quality of care, using case note reviews and implementation of multi-disciplinary quality improvement resulting from these reviews with patients and carers' collaboration. 

Semira established and directs a highly rated MPH Global Health programme at the University of Birmingham and continues this with PhD students, teaching on other Master's courses, BMedSci and undergraduate medical school teaching programmes. She is also a member of a number of professional bodies and an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians.


Teaching Programmes 

  • Medicine and Surgery MBChB 
  • Public Health MPH/PG Diploma/PG Certificate
  • Medical Science BMedSc - Intercalated Degree for Medicinal and Dental students
  • PhD 
  • Developed and directed the Master's in Public Health Global Health programme (MPH GH) and currently continues to teach on the course.
  • Distance learning epidemiology courses at LSHTM, in LMIC settings in Africa and Asia

Postgraduate supervision

Semira is interested in supervising masters or doctorial research students in the following areas, particularly in relation to low- and middle-income countries:

  • Maternal-child health
  • Childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea
  • Vitamin D and infection
  • Clinical handover, transition of care and continuity of integrated care
  • Non-communicable disease health systems strengthening is LMIC (including during flood disasters)
  • Patient-held records
  • Device prioritisation in hospitals
  • Health service quality improvement and QI indicators
  • Preventable hospital mortality / case notes review

Current or Recently Submitted PhD students

  • Karin Diaconou  – Medical device prioritisation and purchasing in LMIC
  • Buba Manjang – Weaning-food hygiene community intervention in rural Gambia – a cluster RCT
  • Claire Humphries – Clinical Handover for NCDs in India
  • Linju Joseph – Clinical Handover for NCDs in India
  • Nakawala Lufumpa –  Factors influencing child malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • An Te – Mortality case-note reviews in UK Hospitals for quality improvement
  • Emma Dickinson – Air pollution policies and maternal child health in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia
  • Tiffany Gooden – Multi-morbidity in HIV patients
  • Hannah Gunter  – Environmental applications of fluorescence spectroscopy, with e. coli as a specific interest.


  • Maternal Child Health 
  • Quality of Health Care and Health Service Delivery
  • Clinical Trials 
  • Health Determinants and Health Systems in low and middle-income countries 
  • Infectious diseases epidemiology 
  • None-communicable diseases (NCD) - health systems strengthening and quality of care
  • NCD systems strengthening in flood disasters

Active Research groups and projects

  • Clinical Handover and Global Health  Research – A growing body of research from numerous studies investigating the state of clinical handover in LMIC for inpatients and between primary care and secondary outpatients or inpatient services for non-communicable diseases and maternity services.
  • MaaCiwara Project – A 120 cluster randomised trial in Mali: a Hybrid Implementation-effectiveness Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial to Evaluate A Behaviour Change Community-level Complementary Food Safety And Feeding Intervention In Urban And Rural Mali. 
  • MaaChampion Project to promote behaviour change for weaning food safety and hygiene in household in rural Gambia – currently in its impact phase. 
  • IGI Water Challenges group  – Including microplastics and health research.
  • IGI Clean Air Group – Including Mongolia air-pollution related research.
  • Preparation for and management of NCDs during floods in India.  


Recent publications


Gooden, TE, Wang, J, Zemedikun, DT, Taylor, S, Greenfield, S, Manaseki-Holland, S, Nirantharakumar, K & Thomas, GN 2023, 'A matched cohort study investigating premature, accentuated and accelerated aging in people living with HIV', HIV Medicine, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 640-647. https://doi.org/10.1111/hiv.13375

Hinrichs-Krapels, S, Tombo, L, Boulding, H, Majonga, ED, Cummins, C & Manaseki-Holland, S 2023, 'Barriers and facilitators for the provision of radiology services in Zimbabwe: A qualitative study based on staff experiences and observations', PLOS Global Public Health, vol. 3, no. 4, e0001796. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0001796

Gooden, TE, Mkhoi, ML, Mdoe, M, Mwalukunga, LJ, Senkoro, E, Kibusi, SM, Thomas, GN, Nirantharakumar, K, Manaseki-Holland, S & Greenfield, S 2023, 'Barriers and facilitators of people living with HIV receiving optimal care for hypertension and diabetes in Tanzania: a qualitative study with healthcare professionals and people living with HIV', BMC Public Health, vol. 23, no. 1, 2235. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-023-17069-6

Gooden, T, Wang, J, Goulart, AC, Varella, AC, Tai, M, Sheron, VA, Zhang, H, Zhong, J, Kumarendran, B, Nirantharakumar, K, Surenthirakumaran, R, Benseñor, IM, Guo, Y, Lip, G, Thomas, GN, Manaseki-Holland, S & Hao, W 2023, 'Generalisability of and lessons learned from a mixed-methods study conducted in three low- and middle-income countries to identify care pathways for atrial fibrillation', Global Health Action, vol. 16, no. 1, 2231763. https://doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2023.2231763

Goulart, AC, Varella, AC, Gooden, TE, Lip, GYH, Jolly, K, Thomas, GN, Lotufo, PA, Greenfield, S, Olmos, RD, Bensenor, IM, Manaseki-Holland, S & NIHR Global Health Research Group on Atrial Fibrillation Management 2023, 'Identifying and understanding the care pathway of patients with atrial fibrillation in Brazil and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: A mixed-methods study', PLOS One, vol. 18, no. 10, e0292463. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0292463

Dickinson-Craig, E, Badarch, J, Bartington, S, Hemming, K, Thayakaran, R, Day, R, Pope, F, Chuluunbaatar, B, Boldbaatar, D, Ochir, C, Warburton, D, Thomas, GN & Manaseki-Holland, S 2023, 'Impact assessment of a raw coal ban on maternal and child health outcomes in Ulaanbaatar: a protocol for an interrupted time series study', BMJ open, vol. 13, no. 4, e061723. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-061723

Joseph, L, Greenfield, S, Manaseki-Holland, S, Lekha, TR, Sujakumari , S, Jeemon, P & Lavis, A 2023, 'Patients’, carers’ and healthcare providers’ views of patient‐held health records in Kerala, India: a qualitative exploratory study', Health Expectations, vol. 26, pp. 1081-1095. https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.13721

Asamane, EA, Quinn, L, Watson, SI, Lilford, RJ, Hemming, K, Sidibe, C, Rego, RT, Bensassi, S, Diarra, Y, Diop, S, Gautam, OP, Islam, MS, Jackson, L, Jolly, K, Kayentao, K, Koita, O, Manjang, B, Tebbs, S, Gale, N, Griffiths, PL, Cairncross, S, Toure, O & Manaseki-Holland, S 2023, 'Protocol for a parallel group, two-arm, superiority cluster randomised trial to evaluate a community-level complementary-food safety and hygiene and nutrition intervention in Mali: the MaaCiwara study (version 1.3; 10 November 2022)', Trials, vol. 24, no. 1, 68. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-022-06984-5

Wilson, L, Gracie, L, Kidy, F, Thomas, GN, Nirantharakumar, K, Greenfield, S, Manaseki-Holland, S, Ward, D & Gooden, T 2023, 'Safety and efficacy of tuberculosis vaccine candidates in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review of randomised controlled clinical trials', BMC Infectious Diseases, vol. 23, 120. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-023-08092-4

Caleyachetty, R, Kumar, NS, Bekele, H & Manaseki-Holland, S 2023, 'Socioeconomic and urban-rural inequalities in the population-level double burden of child malnutrition in the East and Southern African Region', PLOS Global Public Health, vol. 3, no. 4, e0000397. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000397

Joseph, L, Lavis, A, Greenfield, S, Boban, D, Jose, P, Jeemon, P & Manaseki-Holland, S 2022, 'A systematic review of home-based records in maternal and child health for improving informational continuity, health outcomes, and perceived usefulness in low and middle-income countries', PLOS One, vol. 17, no. 8, e0267192. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0267192

Dickinson-Craig, E, Bartington, SE, Watts, R, Mandakhbayar, O, Khurelbaatar, E-O, Ochir, C, Boldbaatar, D, Warburton, D, Thomas, GN, Pope, FD, Sereeter, L, Maniseki-Holland, S & Badarch, J 2022, 'Carbon monoxide levels in households using coal-briquette fuelled stoves exceed WHO air quality guidelines in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia', International Journal of Environmental Health Research, pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/09603123.2022.2123906

Rickard, F, Lu , F, Gustafsson , L, MacArthur, C, Cummins, C, Coker, I, Wilson, A, Mane, K, Manneh, K & Manaseki-Holland, S 2022, 'Clinical handover communication at maternity shift changes and women's safety in Banjul, The Gambia: a mixed-methods study', BMC pregnancy and childbirth, vol. 22, 784. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-022-05052-9

Review article

Gale, NK, Ahmed, K, Diarra, NH, Manaseki-Holland, S, Asamane, E, Sidibé, CS, Touré, O, Wilson, M & Griffiths, P 2024, 'Coproduced, arts interventions for nurturing care (0-5 years) in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs): a realist review', BMJ open, vol. 14, no. 5, e083093. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2023-083093

Gunter, H, Bradley, C, Hannah, D, Manaseki-Holland, S, Stevens, R & Khamis, K 2023, 'Advances in quantifying microbial contamination in potable water: Potential of fluorescence-based sensor technology', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, vol. 10, no. 1, e1622. https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1622

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