Division: Institute for Global Health and Development

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Dr Karina Kielmann (MA, PhD) is a Reader in the Institute for Global Health and Development. She is also a member of the Institute for Global Health and Development Research Centre.

  • Overview
  • Research Interests
  • Research Publications
  • Funded Projects
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Activities & Awards

Karina is a Canadian-German medical anthropologist with training in anthropology and public health. She has 15 years of experience in research, teaching, and developing capacity for social science research in international public health settings. She has long-term research experience in India and East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) and as of 2009, she has contributed to and led research projects in Southern Africa (South Africa, Zambia, Malawi).

Prior to joining IGHD in 2011, Karina was based at in the Department of Global Health & Development at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2001-2011) as a lecturer and senior social scientist advising on three successive DfID-funded programmes: the TB Knowledge Programme (2001-2006); the TARGETS RPC for Communicable Disease Control (2005- 2010) and the Evidence for Action RPC on HIV Treatment and Care (2006-2011).

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

Karina's current research projects (2016 - 2021) funded through MRC, ESRC, and NIHR focus on investigating how health systems can become more responsive and accountable to individuals with HIV, tuberculosis and drug-resistant tuberculosis. This entails work in two broad areas: firstly, interrogating health workers’ and managers’ decision-making spaces and parameters; secondly, understanding meanings and the potential for greater ‘health literacy’ at the interface of communities and health systems in low and middle-income settings. Both of these areas of research have implications for public health goals of improved uptake of interventions, continuity of care, and adherence to recommended guidelines and regimens of care. Projects in Latvia, South Africa, and the UK focus specifically on the need for standardized models of service delivery to adapt to social and structural dimensions of lived experience for individuals and the communities they are part of.  

Active research interests 

Tuberculosis; HIV; health systems dynamics; modalities of care; integration of health and social care; lay and informal health providers; illness as biographical disruption; health worker agency; patient engagement

Research Methods 

Qualitative; ethnographic; social mapping; health systems research; mixed methods


Please see my research publications in eResearch – Queen Margaret University’s repository

Research Grants & Contracts Funding:

Intervening with a Manualised Package to achieve treatment adherence in people with Tuberculosis: the IMPACT study

Co-I, (National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Award, 2018-2021, Lead: Dr Marc Lipman, UCL)

Find out more about IMPACT


Umoya omuhle: Infection prevention and control for drug-resistant tuberculosis in South Africa in the era of decentralised care: a whole systems approach

Umoya ohmule is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project investigating the transmission of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) in clinics across two regions of South Africa. The name, Umoya omuhle, means good air in Zulu, and embodies the project vision of bringing a ‘breath of fresh air' to current thinking on infection prevention and control.

Co-PI (with Prof. Alison Grant, LSHTM) (Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) AMR Initiative, 2017-2020)

Find out more about Umoya omuhle


Addressing Gaps in Men's Health Literacy and Health Seeking in Mozambique: A Case for Differentiated Care for HIV and CVD

Applying a syndemics approach to the case of HIV and CVD co-morbidity among men in Mozambique, the project aims to strengthen the evidence base for developing differentiated health systems strategies to promote men's health literacy and sustained engagement with health care services in Southern Africa.

Find out more about MHIM


Optimizing health systems to improve delivery of decentralized care for patients with drug resistant tuberculosis

Co-PI (with Prof Mark Nicol, UCT and Mosa Moshabela, UKZN) (Wellcome Trust/Joint Health Systems Research Initiative, 2016-2020)

Find out more about Decentralisation of DR-TB care

Karina has been teaching and developing capacity for conducting qualitative and ethnographic research as applied to health and health systems for more than 10 years. In addition to teaching and training for methodology, she has also taught in the following areas and topics: gender and health, health systems, global public health, tuberculosis and HIV care, ethics in public health. In her teaching, she aims to deliver material that is topical and evidence-based, yet also close to experience.  Students are encouraged to participate and engage critically with the subject through a range of interactive methods and materials including work with case studies, poster presentations, role play, and films.


  1. March 2018: Invited speaker and panellist: UCL/LSHTM World TB Day Event
  2. Sept 2017: Invited speaker, ‘Scaling up health systems intervention for TB control: challenges and opportunities’. LSHTM TB Centre Retreat, Watford, UK.
  3. June 2017: Invited speaker, ‘Engaging with HIV care: why space, time, and social relations matter’. Inspiring Global Communities, Wellcome Collection, London, UK.
  4. June 2016: Invited speaker, Edinburgh Infectious Disease Network Symposium Annual Meetings. Decentralising molecular diagnostics for TB in South Africa: a socio-technical approach
  5. March 2015: Invited speaker, Symposium Centre for International Health, Ludwig-Maximillians-Universitaet, Munich. Paper: Strengthening health systems to address emerging challenges in TB and HIV care.
  6. February 2015: Invited seminar: Qualitative Research in Results-Based-Financing Projects: The Promise and the Reality. World Bank, Washington D.C.
  7. November 2014: Invited speaker, ITM Colloquium ‘The human factor in global health’, Antwerp, Belgium, Institute for Tropical Medicine. Paper: Directly observing tuberculosis control: health systems actors and the ‘view from below’
  8. May 2014: Invited faculty seminar, Hong Kong, China, Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Public Health, Systems for Health Seminar: “Health Systems for TB Control: The View from Below”.