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.