Prof. Sonja Merten, MD, PD, PhD, MPH

Head of Unit

PD, Dr. med. et sc. nat, MPH

Professional activities at Swiss TPH

  • Equity in access to health services
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Maternal health, gender and rights
  • Community perspectives on social protection in reproductive health
  • Household food security

Higher education and qualifications

  • 2003-2006: PhD student, interfaculty PhD Program Epidemiology, Institute of Social- and Preventive Medicine, University of Basel, and Swiss Tropical Institute (Perception and interpretation of traditional and biomedical health concepts in a rural African community: Nutrition among Ila-speaking peoples in Zambia. Funding: SNSF, KFPE, Zingg-Schwichtenberg Fond)
  • 2005: Master of Public Health (Do Baby-friendly hospitals influence breastfeeding duration on a national level?)
  • 2002-2005: Graduate School Gender Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • 1997: Diploma in Visual Arts, HdKZ, Switzerland
  • 1993: Staatsexamen, MD

Previous work experience:

  • 2009- today: Swiss TPH
  • 2007-2008: Swiss School of Public Health
  • 2002: WHO Headquarters, Nutrition for Health and Development
  • 1999-2006: Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • 1994-1998: Institute of Medical Education, University of Bern, Switzerland

Schwarz J, Merten S. 'The body is difficult': reproductive navigation through sociality and corporeality in rural Burundi. Cult Health Sex. 2023;25(1):78-93. DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2021.2020904

Schwarz J, Manirakiza R, Merten S. Reproductive governance in a fragile and population-dense context: family planning policies, discourses, and practices in Burundi. Eur J Dev Res. 2022;34(6):2666-2687. DOI: 10.1057/s41287-021-00482-1

Bapolisi W, Ferrari G, Bisimwa G, Merten S. Gendered determinants of food insecurity in ongoing regional conflicts, North and South Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Agric Food Secur. 2021;10:13. DOI: 10.1186/s40066-021-00285-x

Leuenberger A, Cambaco O, Zabré H.R, Lyatuu I, Utzinger J, Munguambe K, Merten S, Winkler M.S. “It is like we are living in a different world”: health inequity in communities surrounding industrial mining sites in Burkina Faso, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(21):11015. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph182111015

Ombere S.O, Haller T, Nyambedha E, Merten S. Cultural practices during pregnancy and birth among the Giriama community in coastal Kenya: a qualitative study. Int J Childbirth. 2021;11(4):154-165. DOI: 10.1891/IJC-2021-0008