Dr Anuj Kapilashrami

School of Health and Social Care
Dr Anuj Kapilashrami



Anuj Kapilashrami is an Interdisciplinary social scientist trained in Sociology and Public health working in the field of Health Policy and Systems research. She is Professor in Global Health Policy and Equity and Director of Global Engagement & Partnerships in the School of Health & Social Care at University of Essex. Her work lies at the intersections of health policy and development praxis, with particular interest in the social and structural determinants of health, and the rights and equity implications of global public health policy and governance. She has longstanding research interest and experience that spreads over two decades and spans across both academia and civil society/ development sector in South Asia and the UK. Her recent scholarship advances intersectionality - conceptually and methodologically- and its application in understanding health inequalities and structural determinants of health and gender-violence. Her current research examines migration as a structural determinant of health, where she adopts an intersectionality lens to reveal how intersecting gender and other social inequalities (race/ ethnicity, indigeneity, sexuality) shape experiences of health, access to health and social protection, and gender violence. She has published widely on inequalities and other areas of health policy and systems (e.g. governance of global health, Public-private partnerships) including an edited volume on Global Health Governance and Commercialisation of Public Health in India with Routledge. A related area of her study and praxis is the role, influence and strategies of health social movements and civil society in health governance and have recently developed guidance for community engagement in defining health benefit packages for UHC from WHO EMR states. Anuj is passionate about social justice and transforming classrooms via public engagement activities. This passion and commitment to human rights and social justice informs her longstanding association with the People’s Health Movement (in India and the UK including as former convener of Scottish chapter) and and other civil society initiatives and leadership to knowledge exchange and capacity building initiatives for researchers and practitioners in South and Central Asia and the UK. She serves on the Board of Health Poverty Action; as Gender & Rights adviser for the Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) at the World Health Organisation and is the founding Chair of the Migration Health South Asia network. Prior to joining Essex University, Anuj was Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and Queen Mary University. She continues her association in the capacity of Senior Research Associate for the Global Health Governance Programme at the Usher Institute of the University of Edinburgh.


  • PhD Queen Margaret University, (2010)

  • MSc Sexual & Reproductive Health Research London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, (2003)

  • MA Sociology Annamalai University, (2002)

Research and professional activities

Current research

From the margins: Exploring Low-income Migrant Workers' Access to Basic Services and Protection in the context of India's Urban Transformation [ESRC-ICSSR Urban Transofrmations call]

Indian cities attract a considerable number of low-income migrants from marginal rural households experiencing difficult economic, political and social conditions at home who migrate in search of livelihoods and security. These migrants come from around the country as well as across the border from Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar to work in low-income manual occupations in a range of small-scale petty trade, service sector work, transport and construction work. Low-income migrants live and work in precarious conditions and are often denied basic amenities and fundamental rights. Poorly-paid intermittent and insecure jobs make them vulnerable to abuse, extortion or bribery. Their marginal position entails poorer access to health care provisions and other determinants of health than general (non-migrant) populations, thereby enhancing their vulnerability to ill-health, abuse and ill treatment whilst simultaneously compromising their ability to access protection, legal support or redress, and forms of accountability. In this context, this ESRC-ICSSR funded joint research project (with University of Edinburgh, University of Delhi, University of Essex & North East Network) examines what India's urban transformation means for low-income migrants, their inclusion and social justice by exploring in two rapidly growing urban cities- Jalandhar & Guwahati: i) low-income migrants' views on transformations in Indian cities, and their entitlements, claim-making processes and attempts to protect their own health in a context of poor living and working conditions. ii) the experience of violence and exclusion and how they protect themselves from various forms of violence; iii) the legal, developmental, humanitarian and human rights responses to low-income migrants in Indian cities.

Engaging Communities in decision making for benefit packages & attainment of Universal Health Coverage

Review of evidence, design and implementation of conceptual model and operational guidance for WHO EMRO to engage communities and other stakeholders in designing benefit packages and UHC plans

Assessment of the impact of COVID-19 responses on vulnerable and marginalised groups

Involves examination of disproportionate burden of COVID on marginalised populations in Europe and internationally (South Asia) with a particular focus on human rights and intersectional equity implications of policy responses to COVID-19.

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Independent Study (HS390)

  • Research Perspectives (HS392)

  • Intersectional Health Inequalities (HS856)

  • Globalisation, Health Policy and Governance (HS887)

  • Innovating for Health Policy and Systems (HS959)


Journal articles (32)

Sharma, J., Sharma, A. and Kapilashrami, A., Covid-19 and Precarity of Low-income Migrant Workers in Indian Cities. Society and Culture in South Asia

Kapilashrami, A., (2021). Transformative or Functional Justice? Examining the Role of Health Care Institutions in Responding to Violence Against Women in India. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 36 (11-12), 5471-5500

Schaaf, M., Kapilashrami, A., George, A., Amin, A., Downe, S., Boydell, V., Samari, G., Ruano, AL., Nanda, P. and Khosla, R., (2021). Unmasking power as foundational to research on sexual and reproductive health and rights. BMJ Global Health. 6 (4), e005482-e005482

Bueno De Mesquita, J., Kapilashrami, A. and Mason, BM., (2021). Strengthening Human Rights in Global Health Law: Lessons from the COVID-19 Response. The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. 49 (2), 328-331

John, EA. and Kapilashrami, A., (2021). Victims, villains and the rare hero: Analysis of migrant and refugee health portrayals in the Indian print media.. Indian journal of medical ethics. VI (2), 145-155

Brizuela, V., Kapilashrami, A., Bonet, M., Khosla, R., Kobeissi, L., Say, L. and Thorson, A., (2021). Sexual and reproductive health and rights of migrants: strengthening regional research capacity. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 99 (5), 402-404

Kapilashrami, A., Otis, M., Omodara, D., Nandi, A., Vats, A., Adeniyi, O., Speed, E., Potter, JL., Eder, B., Pareek, M. and Bhui, K., (2021). Ethnic disparities in health & social care workers’ exposure, protection, and clinical management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Critical Public Health, 1-14

Kapilashrami, A., (2020). What is intersectionality and what promise does it hold for advancing a rights-based sexual and reproductive health agenda?. BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health. 46 (1), 4-7

Bhui, KS. and Kapilashrami, A., (2020). A Global COVID-19 Pandemic Needs an Integrated Global Response. World Social Psychiatry. 2 (2), 84-87

Kapilashrami, A. and Bhui, K., (2020). Mental health and COVID-19: is the virus racist?. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 217 (2), 405-407

Kapilashrami, A., Wickramage, K., Asgari-Jirhandeh, N., Issac, A., Borharde, A., Gurung, G. and Sharma, J., (2020). Migration health research and policy in south and south-east Asia: mapping the gaps and advancing a collaborative agenda. WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health. 9 (2), 107-107

Montel, L., Kapilashrami, A., Coleman, M. and Allemani, C., (2020). The Right to Health in Times of Pandemic: What Can We Learn from the UK’s Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak?. Health and Human Rights: an international journal. 22 (2), 227-241

Carroll, A. and Kapilashrami, A., (2020). Barriers to uptake of reproductive information and contraceptives in rural Tanzania: An intersectionality informed qualitative enquiry. BMJ Open. 10 (10), e036600-e036600

de Gruchy, T. and Kapilashrami, A., (2019). After the handover: Exploring MSF's role in the provision of health care to migrant farm workers in Musina, South Africa.. Global Public Health. 14 (10), 1401-1413

Wenham, C., Katz, R., Birungi, C., Boden, L., Eccleston-Turner, M., Gostin, L., Guinto, R., Hellowell, M., Onarheim, KH., Hutton, J., Kapilashrami, A., Mendenhall, E., Phelan, A., Tichenor, M. and Sridhar, D., (2019). Global health security and universal health coverage: from a marriage of convenience to a strategic, effective partnership. BMJ Global Health. 4 (1), e001145-e001145

George, A., Olivier, J., Glandon, D., Kapilashrami, A. and Gilson, L., (2019). Health systems for all in the SDG era: key reflections based on the Liverpool statement for the fifth global symposium on health systems research. Health Policy and Planning. 34 (Supplement_2), ii135-ii138

Kapilashrami, A. and Hankivsky, O., (2018). Intersectionality and why it matters to global health. The Lancet. 391 (10140), 2589-2591

Kapilashrami, A. and Marsden, S., (2018). Examining intersectional inequalities in access to health (enabling) resources in disadvantaged communities in Scotland: advancing the participatory paradigm.. International Journal for Equity in Health. 17 (1), 83-

Dickson, CAW., McVittie, C. and Kapilashrami, A., (2018). Expertise in action: Insights into the dynamic nature of expertise in community-based nursing.. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 27 (3-4), e451-e462

Kapilashrami, A. and Schrecker, T., (2018). Global Health Watch: Challenging entrenched ideas in global health. BMJ. 360, k956-k956

Kapilashrami, A., (2018). How serious are global health leaders about gender equality?. BMJ. 361, k1462-k1462

van de Pas, R., Ashour, M., Kapilashrami, A. and Fustukian, S., (2017). Interrogating resilience in health systems development. Health Policy and Planning. 32 (suppl_3), iii88-iii90

Hawkes, S., Buse, K. and Kapilashrami, A., (2017). Gender blind? An analysis of global public-private partnerships for health. Globalization and Health. 13 (1), 26-

Alsaba, K. and Kapilashrami, A., (2016). Understanding women’s experience of violence and the political economy of gender in conflict: the case of Syria. Reproductive Health Matters. 24 (47), 5-17

Kapilashrami, A., Smith, KE., Fustukian, S., Eltanani, MK., Laughlin, S., Robertson, T., Muir, J., Gallova, E. and Scandrett, E., (2016). Social movements and public health advocacy in action: the UK people's health movement. Journal of Public Health. 38 (3), 413-416

Kapilashrami, A., (2016). Feminist movements and gender politics: transnational perspectives on intersectionality. The Delhi University Journal of the Humanities and the Social Sciences. 3, 171-184

Kapilashrami, A., Hill, S. and Meer, N., (2015). What can health inequalities researchers learn from an intersectionality perspective? Understanding social dynamics with an inter-categorical approach?. Social Theory & Health. 13 (3-4), 288-307

Cairney, L-I. and Kapilashrami, A., (2014). Confronting ‘scale-down’: Assessing Namibia's human resource strategies in the context of decreased HIV/AIDS funding. Global Public Health. 9 (1-2), 198-209

Kapilashrami, A. and Hanefeld, J., (2014). Meaningful change or more of the same? The Global Fund's new funding model and the politics of HIV scale-up. Global Public Health. 9 (1-2), 160-175

Kapilashrami, A. and McPake, B., (2013). Transforming governance or reinforcing hierarchies and competition: examining the public and hidden transcripts of the Global Fund and HIV in India. Health Policy and Planning. 28 (6), 626-635

Kapilashrami, A. and O'Brien, O., (2012). The Global Fund and the re-configuration and re-emergence of ‘civil society’: Widening or closing the democratic deficit?. Global Public Health. 7 (5), 437-451

Tolhurst, R., Leach, B., Price, J., Robinson, J., Ettore, E., Scott-Samuel, A., Kilonzo, N., Sabuni, LP., Robertson, S., Kapilashrami, A., Bristow, K., Lang, R., Romao, F. and Theobald, S., (2012). Intersectionality and gender mainstreaming in international health: Using a feminist participatory action research process to analyse voices and debates from the global south and north. Social Science & Medicine. 74 (11), 1825-1832

Books (1)

Kapilashrami, A. and Baru, RV., (2018). Global Health Governance and Commercialisation in India Actors, Institutions and the Dialectics of Global and Local. Routledge. 1351049003. 9781351049009

Book chapters (2)

Hamer, J. and Kapilashrami, A., Win-win collaboration? Understanding donor-private sector engagement in health and its implications for Universal Health Coverage.. Routledge

Kapilashrami, A., (2021). TACKLING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ABUSE USING A RIGHTS ORIENTED PUBLIC HEALTH LENS. In: The Routledge International Handbook of Domestic Violence and Abuse.. Editors: Devaney, J., Bradbury-Jones, C., Macy, R., Øverlien, C. and Holt, S., . Routledge.. 79- 95

Reports and Papers (1)

Bueno De Mesquita, J., Kapilashrami, A. and Meier, BM., (2021). Human Rights Dimensions of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Other (3)

Kapilashrami, A. and Hankivsky, O., Beyond sex and gender analysis: an intersectional view of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and response

Kapilashrami, A., (2021).Embracing intersectionality to interrogate and action equality, diversity and inclusion in teaching and learning,Advance HE

Kapilashrami, A. and Hankivsky, O., (2020).Intersectionality offers a radical rethinking of covid-19. BMJ: British Medical Journal,BMJ Opinion blog

Grants and funding


Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response: Human Rights Impacts of COVID-19

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response



Colchester Campus

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Wednesdays 12-130pm

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