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ARISE PhD programme

Samuel SaiduSamuel Saidu

Research Assistant, COMAHS

University of Sierra Leone, Freetown

Samuel Saidu, fondly called Sammy, is a Sierra Leonean and a registered pharmacist with over four years’ work experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He also holds a Master of Public Health degree from the BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University in Bangladesh. He has worked for the United States Center for disease control and prevention (USCDC) in Sierra Leone as consultant, eHealth Africa Sierra Leone both as technical officer and project coordinator, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) in Sierra Leone as inspecting and hospital pharmacist, CAJ Pharmaceuticals Sierra Leone and supervising pharmacist and the University of Sierra Leone as quality assurance administrator at EBOVAC Salone and research assistant at ARISE Hub Sierra Leone. Samuel is a winner of the Sir Hassan Fazle Abed award for best leadership role and also Best Poster award both at MPH BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University.

Samuel is interested in developing under privileged communities through public health as he had done some work on electronic polio surveillance in remote communities, explained complexed clinical trial information to people with very low level of education and many other similar work which is why he has decided to join the ARISE consortium for the next five years as a research assistant working in informal settlements.

As also a PhD student, he is working on youth violence, vulnerability and daily life: understanding the perspective through participatory urban appraisal in informal settlement in Freetown Sierra Leone. This he thinks has been an issue over many years as the Freetown the capital has become the boiling point for the youth from all over country for greener pasture.

PhD Title: Youth violence, vulnerability and daily life: understanding the perspective through participatory urban appraisal in informal settlement in Freetown Sierra Leone

Poster: Understanding the Health and Wellbeing of Young People in Informal Settlements in Freetown, Sierra Leone – A Community-based Participatory Study

Contact information:


Mobile: +23278555104/+23277282638

Skype: saidusamuel2498.

Twitter: samuelsaidu0

Shrutika MurthyShrutika Murthy

Research Assistant

The George Institute for Global Health India (TGI), New Delhi, India

Shrutika Murthy works as a Research Assistant at The George Institute for Global Health India (TGI), on the Accountability for Informal Urban Equity Hub (ARISE). She possesses an inter-disciplinary background, having graduated with a Bachelors in Economics from Symbiosis International University, Pune and a Masters in Politics with specialisation in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her work and research interests revolve around issues pertaining to caste, gender, urban poverty, public health and health systems and policy.

PhD Title: Understanding the embodiment of discrimination and stigma among waste picking communities in India, it’s impact on their health and wellbeing and the consequences on agency 

Poster: Understanding the Embodiment of Discrimination, Stigma, and Agency Among Waste Workers in Shimla India and its Impact on Their Health and Wellbeing

Contact information:


Telephone: +91 11 4158 8091-93

Mobile Number: +919873050568

Skype: Shrutika Murthy

Twitter: @murthyshrutika

Ivy ChumoIvy Chumo

Research Officer, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Nairobi, Kenya

Ivy Chumo is a Research Officer in the Urbanisation and Well-being (UWB) unit at APHRC-Kenyan office. She co-ordinates research on health and wellbeing in urban contexts. Currently, she is among the team implementing Sanitation and ARISE projects in informal settlements.

She has extensive experience in community-based work with expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research methodology that has substantially contributed to the Center’s research on child health, solid waste management and evaluating access to sanitation within urban contexts in Kenya. She has also worked in other research institutions in Kenya in implementing research studies on resilience, deprivations and vulnerabilities including environmental vulnerabilities, slum residents, refugees, PLWDs and child studies. Ivy has interest in child health, human resources for health, and community development in relation to vulnerabilities, deprivations resilience and informalities.

In particular, her long tenure conducting research in peri-urban contexts, coupled with propelling findings that the urban-advantage is a paradox, has fuelled her passion in understanding and contributing to slum systems for health and wellbeing with a focus on accountability lens of WASH and child health among children aged below five years.

PhD Title:  Accountability lens of WASH and child health burdens in Nairobi’s informal settlements

Poster: Social Accountability for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Childcare Centers within Nairobi’s Informal Settlements

Contact information:


Mobile: 254726916422; 254778813576

Skype: ichumo; ivy chumo

Twitter: @chumo_ivy

Bachera Akter

Bachera Akter

Assistant Director, The Center of Excellence for Gender, Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights (CGSRHR), Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bachera Aktar is public health professional with 11+ years of experience of implementing public health programs and researches in rural and urban areas in Bangladesh. Her areas of interest and expertise include reproductive and sexual health, maternal, child and adolescent health and nutrition, health system and management, mixed method research, monitoring and evaluation, healthcare services in humanitarian crisis setting and capacity development of community health workers. She is also interested in community-based participatory research and implementation science. She is an advocate of community-centric simple solutions for improving health and wellbeing of the poor people. At present she is an Assistant Director of the Center of Excellence for Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights at BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH), BRAC University, and oversees research projects on sexual and reproductive health, urban health system and humanitarian response to Rohingya refugees. She is also a course coordinator and Faculty in the Master in Public Health (MPH) Program and supervises MPH students’ thesis work. Prior to joining the School, she worked with the BRAC, the largest Bangladesh-based NGO, and leaded its largest community-based maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) program implemented in 14 districts in rural Bangladesh and provided technical support to its urban MNCH program and adolescent health and nutrition interventions. She was also the Project Lead of a large-scale implementation research on community-based maternal nutrition intervention and oversaw the implementation side of the research including designing and pilot testing a feasible interventions acceptable to the community.

Ms. Aktar completed Bachelor and Masters in Food and Nutrition from Dhaka University, Bangladesh and Master in Public Health from BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University.

PhD Title: Informal governance network connecting formal and informal healthcare system in urban informal settlements in Dhaka: Power, Positionality and Participation

Poster: Informal Governance Networks in Urban Uniformal Settlements in Dhaka City, Bangladesh: Power, Positionality and Participation in Health Systems

Contact information:

Telephone: +880-2-9827501-4

Mobile: +8801729070662

Skype: bachera.aktar

Twitter: @AktarBachera

Abu ContehAbu Conteh

Urban Health Research Officer, Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC), Freetown, Sierra Leone

Abu’s career so far has spanned teaching, journalism, development programming and research. His interests include environmental management, health systems research and social policy practice to improve the lives of the underprivileged.

He worked with Concern Worldwide for nearly three years in some of Freetown’s impoverished communities to help improve maternal and child health. His work at Concern Worldwide extended to the Operations Research component in partnership with Johns Hopkins University to pilot a Community Based Health Information System. His knowledge in the urban health context helped him transition to the urban health research cluster of SLURC, where he has worked with colleagues to produce research reports and briefs on the health situation in informal settlements. Abu holds an MSc in Rural Development from Njala University and is currently an MPhil candidate in the Institute of Geography and Development Studies in the same university

Research title: Informal Health Markets: Tensions and Contestations with Formal Healthcare Provision in Freetown’s Informal Settlements

Poster: Informal Healthcare Provision: Exploring Health Seeking Priorities for people Living with Chronic Health Conditions in Informal Settlements in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Contact information:

Email: Personal:


Telephone: +23276-798136

Skype: Abu Conteh (.cid.f93bff9c39e3efc0)

Twitter: @AbuContehSLURC

Lilian OtisoLilian Otiso

Executive Director, LVCT Health

Nairobi, Kenya

Lilian Otiso is the Executive Director at LVCT Health, a large Kenyan NGO where she leads teams to implement HIV, gender-based violence and community health programs reaching over 1 million people annually. She is a medical doctor with an MBA in Health Care Management with over 14 years’ clinical and programming experience in government and NGO sectors at senior management level.  She is a fellow of the inaugural Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa 2018 program. She is passionate about strengthening health systems for primary health care, involving the beneficiaries and communities in developing and implementing programs.

Lilian has been involved in conducting research on HIV, GBV and community health. She has served as the country principle investigator of REACHOUT study (2013-2018) on strengthening community health systems for delivery of community services in Kenya. She was the country lead for the USAID SQALE ICH project (2016-2020) that successfully developed a quality improvement approach at community level. Lilian is a key member of the Ministry of Health community health technical working group where she has contributed to policy on universal health coverage, community health policy and investment case for CHW programs. She has contributed to various Kenyan and global WHO guidelines. She has been the co-chair of the Health Systems Global Thematic Working Group on Community Health Workers which has been instrumental in promoting shared learning on CHWs among members from diverse backgrounds. She has published widely and made several presentations on CHWs and HIV.

PhD Title: Accountability and equity for universal health coverage in urban informal settlements in Kenya

Poster: Accountability for UHC: A Longitudinal Study on Pregnant Adolescent Girls in Urban Slums in Kenya

Contact information:


Mobile number: +254 722 293139

Skype name: lilianotiso

Twitter name: @lilianotiso

Smruti Srinivas JukurSmruti Srinivas Jukur

Urban Planner and Architect, SPARC, India

Smruti is an Architect and practicing Urban Planner who in a process to specialise in working solutions with the urban poor referred as ‘informal settlements’/slums. She has followed her calling from her formative ages to work in the development sector to improve the habitats of the poor. On a journey and commitment to work on the design and planning of informal urban areas in cities she works with two large social movements, National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mahila Milan with SPARC, together known as “the Indian Alliance” is India’s largest NGO working with the Urban poor. She works closely with people centric solutions and believes in “real” practical solutions that work for informal settlements. Her work is based in India also extends in Asia and Africa with SDI- Slum Dwellers International which is a Transnational network of the Urban poor spread in 33 countries who have challenged traditional approaches to develop rationalised approaches to urban planning and design to create new innovative solutions that are evolved from what works for people and is suitable to the local context, that which can be affordable, scalable and replicable.

Apart from her practice she also works closely with research and academia by conducting lectures and studios bridging preaching and practice gap, she has worked with several institutions in India and outside to encourage planning practices integrated with informal settlements.

PhD Title: Understanding the intersectionality of urban planning and built environment on Health, Well-being and access to Health Care in Relocation and resettlement sites of urban informal settlements.

Poster: A Critical Assessment Of How Urban Development And Relocation Processes Shape Wellbeing Of Marginalised People

Contact information:


Mobile number: +918652395394

Skype: smruti.jukur

Twitter Handle: @smrutisj