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

Dr Semira Manaseki-Holland

Institute of Applied Health Research
Clinical Senior Lecturer in Public Health

Contact details

Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Semira Manaseki-Holland manages the Master’s in Public Health (Global) at the University of Birmingham. As Senior Clinical Lecturer in Public Health,  Semira teaches students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including supervision of a number of PhDs. Semira’s research leadership focuses on health systems and maternal-child health, mainly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) over a 25 year period.  

Trained as a public health physician with joint qualifications in paediatrics, Semira’s pioneering international work includes conducting the first randomized control trials in Mongolia and Afghanistan. She has also worked extensively for WHO HQ, UN agencies, Ministries of Health and NGOs on a variety of health programmes.

As CEO for Central Asia for a large multi-national NGO (AKHS) between 2005-2009 she managed the delivery of Afghanistan’s integrated healthcare services in 3 provinces, which included provincial hospitals and district/ village clinics. At the same time she supported national health care delivery and reform systems in two remote, mountainous provinces of Tajikistan. Semira also managed the operations of the midwifery training colleges and academic studies in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.


  • 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 

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
  • Patient-held records
  • Device prioritisation in hospitals
  • Health service quality improvement and QI indicators
  • Preventable hospital mortality / case notes review

Current students:



  • 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 - CVD


Manaseki-Holland S, Lilford RJ, Bishop JR, Girling AJ, Chen YF, Chilton PJ, Hofer TP (2016)  UK Case Note Review Group. Reviewing deaths in British and US hospitals: a study of two scales for assessing preventability. BMJ Qual Saf. 2016 Jun 22. pii: bmjqs-2015-004849. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2015-004849.

Sarin P, Manaseki-Holland S, Mughal Z, Duffy J, Hedayat E. (2016) Vitamin D and tuberculosis: review and association in rural provinces Bamyan, Baghlan and Badakhshan, Afghanistan. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis.2016 Mar;20(3):383-8. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.15.0303.

Bazarragchaa Tsogt B, Manaseki-Holland S, Pollock J, Blair PS, Fleming P. (2016) Thermoregulatory effects of swaddling in Mongolia: A randomised controlled study. Arch Dis Child. 2016 Feb;101(2):152-60. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2014-307908. Epub 2015 Oct 29.

Braddick L, Tuckey V, Abbas Z, Lissauer D, Ismail K, Manaseki-Holland S, Ditai J, Stokes T. (2016) A mixed-methods study of barriers and facilitators to the implementation of postpartum hemorrhage guidelines in Uganda. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2016 Jan;132(1):89-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2015.06.047. Epub 2015 Sep 28.

Aluisio AR, Maroof Z, Chandramohan D, Bruce J, Masher MI, Manaseki-Holland S, Ensink JH. (2015) Risk factors associated with recurrent diarrheal illnesses among children in Kabul, Afghanistan: a prospective cohort study. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 13;10(2):e0116342. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116342. eCollection 2015.

Lilford RJ, Burn SL, Diaconu KD, Lilford P, Chilton PJ, Bion V, Cummins C, Manaseki-Holland S. (2015) An approach to prioritization of medical devices in low-income countries: an example based on the Republic of South Sudan. Cost Eff Resour Alloc. 2015 Jan 10;13(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s12962-014-0027-3. eCollection 2015.

Aluisio A R, Maroof Z, Bruce J, Mughal Z, Masher MI, Bhutta Z, Walraven G, Chandramohan D, Manaseki-Holland S (2013) Vitamin D₃supplementation and childhood diarrhea:a randomised controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2013 Oct;132(4):e832-40. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-3986. Epub 2013 Sep 9.
Yao G L, Novielli, N, Manaseki-Holland S, Chen Y, van der Klink M, Barach P, Chilton PJ, Lilford R J(2012) on behalf of the European HANDOVER Research Collaborative. Evaluation of a pre-development service delivery intervention: an application to improve clinical handovers. BMJ Quality & Safety. 2012 Dec;21 Suppl 1:i29-38. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001210. Epub 2012 Sep 13 
Manaseki-Holland S. (2012) Vitamin D for childhood pneumonia. Indian Pediatr. 2012 Jun 8;49(6):439-40. 
Manaseki-Holland S, Bruce J, Maroof Z, Mughal Z, Masher M I , Bhutta Z, Walraven G, Chandramohan D. (2012) Effect on the incidence of pneumonia of vitamin D supplementation by quarterly bolus dose to infants in Kabul: a randomised controlled superiority trial. Lancet. 2012 Apr 14, 379(9824):1419-27. 
Manaseki-Holland S, Spier E, Bavuusuren, B. Bayandorj T, Marshall, T, and Sprachman S (2010)  Effects of tight and prolonged swaddling upon mental and psychomotor development at one year of age: a randomised controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2010 Dec;126(6):e1485-92. 
Pollock J, Manaseki-Holland S, Patel V. (2009) Depression in Mongolian women over the first two months after Childbirth: prevalence and risk factors. J Affect Disord. 2009 Jul; 116(1-2); 126-33. 
Walraven G , Manaseki-Holland S, Hussain A, and Tomoro J B (2009) Improving maternal and child health in difficult environments: experiences in adjacent geographical areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan and the case for 'cross border' health care. PLoS Medicine 2009 Jan 13;6(1):e5. 
 Sovd T,  Mmari K, Lipovsek V, Manaseki-Holland S (2006) Acceptability as a Key Determinant of Client Satisfaction: Lessons from an Evaluation of Adolescent Friendly Health Services in Mongolia. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2006 May;38(5):519-26.

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