Alliance Secretariat

Alliance Secretariat

The Alliance Secretariat is administered by WHO and composed of the Alliance Executive Director appointed by WHO in consultation with the Alliance Board and has a Secretariat, also appointed by WHO.

The Secretariat's functions are to:

  • conceptualize, develop and coordinate the strategy of the Alliance;

  • consult with all partners to develop consensus on the Alliance strategy and create a global network of partners engaged in health systems research initiatives;

  • direct and/or commission the main programmes, projects and activities of the Alliance, including measures to ensure the quality of resulting products;

  • direct the development of practical guidelines and best practices related to health systems research, as well as scientific publications in peer reviewed journals;

  • plan, develop and implement a global advocacy strategy for health systems research and a global resource mobilisation strategy;

  • develop and implement a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Alliance;

  • lead a multi-disciplinary team to develop and implement the Alliance workplans; and

  • manage the human and financial resources of the Alliance, as well as the work of the Alliance Board and STAC and such other groups as may be set up by the Alliance Board.

Dr Abdul Ghaffar, MD, PhD, Executive Director

Dr Abdul Ghaffar has worked for over 30 years in low- and middle-income countries managing research for health; planning, designing and evaluating national health systems; and teaching health policy and management. He is a physician by training with a PhD in International Health (health systems) from Johns Hopkins University. Before joining the Alliance, Dr Ghaffar served as Regional Advisor for Research, in the Eastern Mediterranean Office of the World Health Organization. Earlier, he worked as a Health Policy and Systems Specialist at the Global Forum for Health Research in Geneva. In his country (Pakistan) he started his career as a public health physician, and later worked at different leadership positions as Assistant Director-General of Policy and Planning; Deputy Director-General of International Health; and Director of the Health Services Academy, a national school of public health. He has played a leading role in establishing and managing policy and research fora involving civil society, policy-makers and development partners, both at the national and international levels. His desire and interest is to trigger a global movement to generate and use research evidence for improved policy and management decisions at the country level.

Nhan Tran, MHS, PhD, Manager

As the Manager of the Implementation Research Platform (IRP), Nhan oversees work carried out in the three focus areas of the IRP: stewardship, capacity strengthening, and programmatic research. Additionally, he is also responsible for the coordination of activities among the IRP partners within and outside the WHO. Before joining the Alliance, Nhan worked as a health systems researcher at Johns Hopkins University where he led the development of a HIV surveillance system in Afghanistan as well as studies on the scale up of road safety interventions in Russia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In addition to his work at Hopkins, Nhan also brings 10 years of professional experience working with the U.S. Department of Health & Human services where he designed and managed implementation research studies to inform national strategies for the delivery of family planning services.

Maryam Bigdeli, Pharm, MPH, Technical Officer

Dr Maryam Bigdeli

Maryam is a pharmacist and holds a masters in public health from the University of Brussels. She has worked over 15 years in low income countries on access and supply of essential medicines, health systems strengthening and health financing systems, especially targeting the poor. Before joining the Alliance, Maryam worked as health financing adviser in WHO country offices in Cambodia and Lao PDR. Her professional goal is to promote adequate access to affordable health services for the poor and vulnerable populations, by strengthening national policy development structures and use of research evidence.

Etienne Langlois, MA, PhD Technical Officer

Etienne is an epidemiologist specialized in health policy analysis, systematic reviews and monitoring and evaluation. At the Alliance HPSR, Etienne oversees portfolios pertaining to evidence synthesis relevant to health policy and systems in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, he works on issues related to embedded research and decision-making leadership development. Before joining the Alliance, Etienne worked as a Researcher at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, and Lecturer in clinical epidemiology and global health at the University of Montreal. In addition, he brings to the Alliance his professional experience working as Research Director of the International Forum of the Americas and Consultant for the World Health Organization.

Zubin Shroff, MBBS, SD, Technical Officer

Zubin is a medical doctor and health systems specialist. After graduating with a Medical degree from Delhi University in 2007, he completed his Masters and Doctoral degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health. His doctoral dissertation used a variety of political economy frameworks and quantitative and qualitative methods to analyse the politics of publicly funded health insurance in India. At the Alliance, Zubin leads the portfolio of work in the area of Universal Health Coverage, currently managing a research call focusing on the role of non-state providers towards the achievement of UHC. He is overseeing the development of a report surveying the state of Health Policy and Systems Research relevant to low and middle income countries. He is one of the co-authors of a soon to be released methodological reader on the use of Participatory Action Research approaches for health systems research. Additionally, Zubin provides technical support to Implementation Research projects in seven countries. Prior to working at the Alliance, Zubin has served as a consultant to the World Bank in Cameroon working on their Results Based Financing program as well as to the Public Health Foundation of India where his work focused on human resource distributional issues in India.

Lydia Bendib, MSc, Technical Officer

Lydia Al Khudri Bendib

Lydia manages and monitors the Alliance's research grants and supports the team in initiating and implementing new grants. She is responsible for getting approval from the Ethical Review Committee and renewing the Alliance's grants. She also coordinates the production and dissemination of the Alliance's Flagship Reports.

Gloria Kelly, BCL, Programme Officer

Gloria Kelly

Gloria has overall responsiblity for financial and workplanning, management and donor relations. She also manages and coordinates the full range of Alliance contracts and grant agreements.

John Warriner, Technical Officer

John's main responsibilities are to monitor grants/contracts of the Alliance. He also provides overall IT support to the Alliance. Before joining the Alliance, John was the manager of Administration, HR and IT with the Global Forum for Health Research, bringing his knowledge and experience in organizational behaviour. John also served on the Board of the Fédération Internationale des Institutions Internationales Etablies à Genève (FIIG) from 2004-2006. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, John graduated from Richmond University in 1989.

Stephanie Ngo, BSc, BSN, Technical Officer

Maryse Coutty, Administrative Staff

Maryse Coutty

Maryse has overall responsibility for the coordination of administrative issues, with a particular emphasis on human resources.

Pauline Bempong, Administrative Staff

Pauline Bempong

Pauline provides administrative and secretarial support to the Alliance Executive Director and staff particularly in the areas of contract processing, meetings and travel organization.