Social Sciences: Social Statistics & Demography

Nyovani J Madise

Primary position:
Professor of Demography and Social Statistics
Other positions:
Co-Director Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty and Policy


The University of Southampton

Nyovani Madise obtained her PhD in 1993. It investigated the interface between birth interval length and infant mortality in Malawi using multilevel statistical modelling.

Before joining the University of Southampton in 1994, Nyovani worked as a lecturer in statistics at the University of Malawi. Nyovani co-directed Opportunities and Choices, a DFID-funded knowledge programme of research in reproductive health between 1999 and 2001, and she worked as a Senior Research Scientist at the African Population Health Research Centre in Nairobi.  Nyovani was the first director of the Centre for AIDS Research. Nyovani is co-Director of the Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty, and Policy. She is also continuing to work on her research on child survival, nutrition, HIV/AIDS and family planning in sub-Saharan Africa.

Professor Nyovani J Madise's photo

"My research interests are in child and maternal health, HIV/AIDS, family planning and young people's sexual behaviour in the developing world."


Research Interests

My research interests are in child and maternal health, HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health, and nutritional health in the developing world.

My work on maternal and child health involves the analysis of large datasets to understand inequities in access to maternal and child health care. Recent projects in this area have included work published in Demography journal which involved the analysis of DHS data from 18 African countries to understand the link between urbanization and child mortality and a paper published in PLoS Medicine which analysed data from 30 countries to examine the so called “urban advantage” in maternal health care in developing countries. I have also conducted empirical research in two slums in Nairobi City to document the maternal mortality ratios in those communities in comparison to other areas of Kenya. We also showed the sub-standard quality of maternity health care for women who reside in these slums.

On HIV/AIDS, my work involves the analysis of population-based HIV sero surveys in Malawi and Kenya to characterise the risks of HIV infection. We were first to document the high risk of HIV infection in slums in Nairobi City relative to risks among other slum dwellers and rural residents. I have also looked at protective and risk factors associated with HIV among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 2012, I have been working with a large consortium named “ASSETS” to examine nutritional health and food security and their link to ecosystem services. This work is taking place in Malawi and Colombia, and involves bringing out contrasts between communities who live near forests and those further away.

I am leading a Poverty and Sexual and Reproductive Health network, which has evolved from an ESRC Seminar Series which examined the links between poverty and sexual and reproductive health in middle and low income countries. Current work in this area includes understanding the concept of “unmet need” for family planning and the consequences of unintended childbearing on women’s and children’s health.

Evaluation of Interventions

I am currently involved in the evaluation of two interventions. The first is to examine the social and economic effects of rural electrification in rural Kenya. Our role is to conduct a social science evaluation of the wellbeing, health, and livelihoods of people in rural villages, and the changes if any, after electrification. We are using a case-control approach and difference-in-difference analytical techniques.

In two Nairobi slums, we are evaluating the effectiveness of personalised nutrition counselling for pregnant women and their infants to see if we can encourage good nutrition during pregnancy, promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, and ensure appropriate complementary feeding from 6 months onwards.

Other Research Projects

Rural Electrification Project

Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN)

Research project

ASSETS: Attaining sustainable services from ecosystems


Professor Nyovani J Madise
Social Statistics & Demography
Social Sciences
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/4103

Telephone: (023) 8059 2534