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. 2022(in press). DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2021.2020904

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

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. 2021(in press). DOI: 10.1057/s41287-021-00482-1