Daniel Cobos Muñoz, PhD, MD, MSc

Group Leader

Organisational Entity

I am a physician and a health system researcher with a focus on the application of systems thinking tools and methods to unpack the inherent complexity of public health challenges. I have extensive experience in the application of systems thinking methods to analyze the complex dynamics of health care systems in low resource settings. I was the principal investigator of a number of projects to advance the application of systems thinking methods and tools to improve health systems performance. As an example, the “System thinking for district health systems (ST-DHS)” project funded by the Alliance for Health Policies and Systems Research was a multicounty study aimed to understand how and if system thinking methods can shape planning and budgeting processes to improve district health system performance. The project evolved into de creation of the Systems Thinking Accelerator (SYSTAC) for which am leading the European Hub. SYSTAC aims to create a global community for systems thinkers to engage, connect and collaborate to elevate the field of systems thinking to improve health and leave no one behind. Currently, I am the principal investigator of an implementation research project aimed at developing a decision support tool based on System Dynamics Modelling (SDM) to improve cardiovascular management in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I am also the PI for a system analysis of the missed opportunities to detect and respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG). We are conducting a transdisciplinary analysis of the existing opportunities and barriers in the health sector to reduce VAWG.

I support a number of global efforts where the group's research is being connected to policy making and global recommendations. I am the Chair of the World Health Organization (WHO) Reference Group for Verbal Autopsy (VARG) and a member of the WHO Reference Group on Health Statistics (WHO RGHS). I am also heading the WHO Collaborating Center for Verbal Autopsy at SwissTPH. I have led the systems analysis of civil registration and vital statistics in more than 25 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America using systems thinking methods. My research has led to the development of globally accepted standards such as the “Ten CRVS milestones” to understand and intervene in CRVS systems in LMICs. Within the Bloomberg Data for Health Innitative we have conducted a number of implementation research projects aimed at building better mortality inforamtion systems to inform public policies.

Currently based in Lao PDR, I participate in a number of capacity building efforts at graduate and post-graduate level. As an example, the Systems Innovation Group leads one of the modules in the MBA in International Health focused on the application of System Thinking for Health (https://www.swisstph.ch/en/study-with-us/postgraduate/health-policy-systems-analysis).

Witter S, Thomas S, Topp S.M, Barasa E, Chopra M, Cobos Muñoz D, Blanchet K, Teddy G, Atun R, Ager A. Health system resilience: a critical review and reconceptualisation. Lancet Glob Health. 2023;11(9):e1454-e1458. DOI: 10.1016/s2214-109x(23)00279-6

Adair T, Rajasekhar M, Bo K.S, Hart J, Kwa V, Mukut M.A.A, Reeve M, Richards N, Ronderos-Torres M, de Savigny D, Cobos Muñoz D, Lopez A.D. Where there is no hospital: improving the notification of community deaths. BMC Med. 2020;18:65. DOI: 10.1186/s12916-020-01524-x

Cobos Muñoz D, de Savigny D, Sorchik R, Bo K.S, Hart J, Kwa V, Ngomituje X, Richards N, Lopez A.D. Better data for better outcomes: the importance of process mapping and management in CRVS systems. BMC Med. 2020;18:67. DOI: 10.1186/s12916-020-01522-z

Karim A, Cobos Muñoz D, Mäusezahl D, de Savigny D. A systems approach to assessing complexity in health interventions: an effectiveness decay model for integrated community case management. Glob Health Action. 2020;13:1794106. DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2020.1794106

Karim A, Cobos Muñoz D, Mäusezahl D, de Savigny D. Thematic areas and complexity of integrated community case management (iCCM) design, implementation, and evaluation: protocol for a scoping review. Syst Rev. 2020;9:205. DOI: 10.1186/s13643-020-01454-y

Abakar M.F, Seli D, Lechthaler F, Schelling E, Tran N, Zinsstag J, Cobos Muñoz D. Vaccine hesitancy among mobile pastoralists in Chad: a qualitative study. Int J Equity Health. 2018;17(1):167. DOI: 10.1186/s12939-018-0873-2

AbouZahr C, Bratschi M.W, Cobos Muñoz D, Santon R, Richard N, Riley I, Setel P. How can we accelerate progress on civil registration and vital statistics? [Editorial]. Bull World Health Organ. 2018;96(4):226-226A. DOI: 10.2471/BLT.18.211086

Cobos Muñoz D, Abouzahr C, de Savigny D. The ‘Ten CRVS Milestones’ framework for understanding civil registration and vital statistics systems [Commentary]. BMJ Glob Health. 2018;3:e000673. DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000673

Cobos Muñoz D, Merino Amador P, Monzon Llamas L, Martinez Hernandez D, Santos Sancho J.M. Decentralization of health systems in low and middle income countries: a systematic review. Int J Public Health. 2017;62(2):219-229. DOI: 10.1007/s00038-016-0872-2

de Savigny D, Riley I, Chandramohan D, Odhiambo F, Nichols E, Notzon S, AbouZahr C, Mitra R, Cobos Muñoz D, Firth S, Maire N, Sankoh O, Bronson G, Setel P, Byass P, Jakob R, Boerma T, Lopez A.D. Integrating community-based verbal autopsy into civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS): system-level considerations. Glob Health Action. 2017;10(1):1272882. DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2017.1272882

Cobos Muñoz D, Monzón Llamas L, Bosch-Capblanch X. Exposing concerns about vaccination in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review. Int J Public Health. 2015;60(7):767-780. DOI: 10.1007/s00038-015-0715-6