Behaviour and Health

  • Strategic research questions

    1. How do emergent home-based medical technologies contribute to engagement with health and prevention?
    2. Can we improve response to severe illness through linked social interventions at primary and community level?
    3. How can we optimise ethical practice and community engagement across the MLW programme through research and evaluation?

    Cross-cutting sub-themes:

    1. Acceptability: how is the concept of ‘acceptability’ relevant to understanding health and research engagement and what are the requisites to ensure empirical ‘acceptability’ across different interventions (Lead: Kate Gooding)
    2. Gender, masculinity and treatment seeking behaviour (Lead on Masculinity: Moses Kumwenda)
  • Strategic areas:

    1. Home-based technologies are increasingly empowering patients to self-care and prevention.
    2.  Late presentation at tertiary impacts on disease outcome for adults and children.
    3. Bioethics of practice & effective community engagement (CE) are increasingly important in global research.


    1. Acceptability multi-dimensional term across different research and intervention settings
    2.  Male engagement in research, intervention and healthcare suboptimal across disease categories
  • Strategic areas:

    1. a. Understand social and ethical dimensions including social harms of introducing HIV self-testing in key, general populations and couples
      Explore concepts of ‘patient-hood’, risk and responsibility as ‘biological citizens’ through access to home-based technologies 
    2. a. Develop and measure impact of community and primary health service based interventions to improve recognition of and response to severe illness
      b) Explore key social determinants of engagement in health interventions. 
    3. a.  Improve medical research practice through research in bioethics & CE 
      b.  Evaluate impact of science communication activities. 


    1. a. Understand the theoretical concept of ‘acceptability’
      b. Explore how this translates into empirical practice across different health delivery settings linked to strategic areas 1 and 2 including vaccines, interventions and the utility of emergent technologies. 
    2. a.  to address issues around masculinity and gender as a factor impacting on access to and uptake of healthcare  
      b. Explore the impact
  • Recent publications: 1) Invited Editorial Health Risk and Society Journal: Theories of uncertainty risk and across different modernities (2015) Desmond Engaging with risk in non-western settings: Vol 7 Issue 3-4 DOI:10.1080/13698575.2015.1086482, Invited paper on ethical dimensions of HIV self-testing for International Health 2)Anthropology & Medicine (2015) R. Sambakunsi, M Kumwenda, A Choko, EL Corbett, N Desmond ‘Whose failure counts?’ A critical reflection on definitions of failure for community health volunteers providing HIV self-testing in a community based HIV/TB intervention study in urban Malawi: Kumwenda, Phiri, Desmond AIDS and Behaviour, Nyirenda, O’Byrne, Desmond Public Understanding of Science. Recent grants (2015): Wellcome Trust International Engagement Award - £30,000, CDC Investigating vaccine acceptability and hesitancy in response to inactivated influenza vaccine $283,000 Meningitis Research Foundation Triage and treatment, training and engagement. A package for sustainable healthcare improvement in Malawi’s primary health clinics £678,332