The UCL Centre for Global Health Economics

Dr Jolene Skordis-Worrall

Dr Jolene Skordis-Worrall is an economist specialising in Applied Health and Development Economics, and is the current Director of the Centre for Global Health Economics.  With strong networks in low and middle income countries, in sub-Sharan Africa and South East Asia, she has experience of working with a wide range of international organisations.  For over 10 years, Dr Skordis-Worrall has primarily worked within randomised trials of complex public health interventions, establishing research programmes that span gender empowerment and capability, multidimensional poverty and antipoverty transfer programmes, social networks, health equity and understanding fiscal space for sustainable and scalable programme delivery. Dr Skordis-Worrall has published widely in high impact journals and has a strong international reputation. Her work has directly influenced government policy.

Selected Papers

Optimizing investments in Georgia’s HIV response. The World Bank Group. (2016)

Learning Online: A Case Study Exploring Student Perceptions and Experience of a Course in Economic Evaluation. (2016)

Are village health sanitation and nutrition committees fulfilling their roles for decentralised health planning and action? A mixed methods study from rural eastern India. (2016)

Coping with the economic burden of Diabetes, TB and co-prevalence: Evidence from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. (2016)

Recognizing the importance of chronic disease in driving healthcare expenditure in Tanzania: analysis of panel data from 1991 to 2010. (2016)

Inequity in costs of seeking sexual and reproductive health services in India and Kenya. (2015)

Why not bathe the baby today?”: A qualitative study of thermal care beliefs and practices in four African sites. (2015)

Current neonatal skin care practices in four African sites. (2015)

Roles and responsibilities in newborn care in four African sites. (2015)

Validating a tool to measure auxiliary nurse midwife and nurse motivation in rural Nepal. (2015)

Participatory women’s groups and counselling through home visits to improve child growth in rural eastern India: Protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial. (2015)

What is a good life? Selecting capabilities to assess women’s quality of life in rural Malawi. (2015)

Self-transfer and mortality amongst adults lost to follow-up in ART programmes in low- and middle-income countries: systematic review and meta-analysis. (2015)

Cost-effectiveness and affordability of community mobilisation through women’s groups and quality improvement in health facilities (MaiKhanda trial) in Malawi (2015)

Do economic evaluation studies inform effective healthcare resource allocation in Iran? A critical review of the literature (2014)

Highlighting the evidence gap: how cost-effective are interventions to improve early childhood nutrition and development? (2014)

Can Decision Field Theory Improve Our Understanding Of Health Seeking Behaviour? A Demonstration Using Data From Cape Town, South Africa (2014)

Collecting and Analysing Cost Data for Complex Public Health Trials: Reflections on Practice (2014)



2016 – 2018: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Afya Credit Incentive for Improved Maternal and Child Health

The goal of this study is to test whether well-designed and targeted financial incentives can succeed in changing hard-to-change behaviours; in this case using maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) services.

Role: Academic Lead (Joint Principle Investigator)


2015 – 2016: World Bank

OPTIMA: Assessing the Technical Efficiency of HIV Responses in Eastern Europe and West Central Africa

The goal of this study is to help national decision-makers, program managers, and funding partners achieve maximum impact with the funding available for the country’s HIV response and plan for sustainability in four countries.

Role: Academic lead for four country analyses in Georgia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Togo. (Principle Investigator)


2015 – 2016: The British Academy

Exploring the feasibility and acceptability of a parenting intervention to improve early childhood nutrition and stimulation in Iran’s deprived provinces

The goal of this study is to develop a parenting intervention to improve early childhood nutrition and stimulation in the deprived provinces in Iran, and to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the designed intervention. 

Role: Academic lead (Principle Investigator)


2014 – 2016: Department for International Development (DFID)

Reducing Severe Acute Malnutrition through Unconditional Cash or Food Transfers (REFANI)

The goal of this study is to examine the nutritional impact and cost-effectiveness of cash and/or voucher-based food assistance interventions. The aim is to create new evidence to inform decisions on the prevention of acute under nutrition in emergencies.

Role:  Senior Advisor (co-Investigator)

2013 – 2016: Wellcome Trust Joint Global Health Trial Scheme

Cluster randomized controlled trial of a Community intervention to improve growth among children under two in rural India (CARING)

The goal of this study is to to assess the impact, cost-effectiveness and scalability of a community intervention to improve child growth in two rural districts of Jharkhand and Orissa, India, where over 60% of children are stunted.

Role: Economics Lead  (co-Investigator)


2011 – 2016: Wellcome Trust

SPRING (for MDGs): Sustainable Program Incorporating Nutrition & Games

The goal of this study is to develop an innovative, feasible, affordable and sustainable community-based approach that can achieve delivery at scale of known effective interventions that will maximise child development, growth and survival. 

Role: Economics Lead  (co-Investigator)


2011 – 2016: European Union

Diagonal Interventions for Improved Reproductive Health (DIFFER)

The goal of this study is to improve sexual and reproductive health for all women by expanding and strengthening sexual and reproductive health services, and providing and testing targeted interventions for female sex workers (FSW) in the context of existing health systems. 

Role: Economic Lead (Joint Principle Investigator)


Completed Research Support (Last 5 years)

2014 – 2016: Department for International Development (DFID)

Conditional cash transfers and food supplements to improve nutrition in pregnancy in Nepal (LBWSAT)

The goal of this study is to assess the relative impacts on birth weight of an nutrition behaviour change strategy (BCS), with and without an unconditional cash transfer or a food supplement, compared with current programmes, in two districts in southern Nepal. 

Role: Economic Lead (co-Investigator)


2011 – 2014: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

District burden and costs of severe pneumonia before and after introduction of pneumococcal vaccine in Malawi

The goal of this study is to study the pattern and severity of childhood pneumonias before and after the introduction of the pneumococcal vaccine, evaluate the vaccine status of children with severe illnesses to estimate vaccine effectiveness, and analyse the cost effectiveness of the pneumococcal vaccine in two districts of Malawi

Role: Economic Lead (co-Investigator)


2011 – 2014: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Exploratory study to guide the design of an emollients trial in Africa

The goal of this study is collect data to inform the design of a community based trial to evaluate whether massaging babies with emollients can reduce neonatal deaths. 

Role: Economic Lead (co-Investigator)