Jean-Marion Aitken

Jean-Marion Aitken

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Health system strengthening; international aid architecture and aid funding modalities; aid effectiveness, including harmonization and alignment of development; pandemic preparedness and response; health governance, including decentralisation and local accountability structures and processes; district health systems; maternal reproductive and child health; drug procurement, supply chain and access to medicines; human resources for health.


Building health systems; health policy and analysis; program design and development; collaborative working, consultations and process management; team leadership and facilitation; institutional design and analysis; designing and negotiating funding mechanisms; research, appraisal, and synthesis.


Background and relevant experience:

  • Over 35 years’ experience of health and development in Africa (Malawi, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Namibia, and Tanzania), Asia (Nepal, India and Cambodia) and Eastern Europe (Albania and Bulgaria), working from the community to the international level.
  • Experience in health sector reform, strengthening health systems and community development in a wide variety of organisations and contexts including NGOs, multilaterals and academic institutions. This includes research and consultancy work on district health management strengthening programmes in Ghana, Nepal and India.
  • 18 years employment with DFID in Country Offices, Research and Evidence Division and Policy Division providing technical input, project design and management on a range of issues including health systems; new vaccines; procurement and drug supply; the International Finance Facility; human resources for health; and service delivery and state building.

Recent experience and appointments:

RSSH specialist, EHG/UNAIDS Mar – Nov 2023 Part of a team evaluating the UN Joint Programme’s contribution to strengthening HIV and Primary Health Care outcomes: linkages and integration.

Health Partnerships Specialist, OPM/ FCDO Dec 2021 – April 2022 Part of a team designing a new FCDO health sector programme for Nepal, focusing on external development partners and FCDO policy.

Technical advisor, The Elders (July 2021 – Oct 2021) Briefing paper on UHC and pandemic preparedness and response.

Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH) Expert (and Co-Focal Point 2021), The Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, Technical Review Panel April 2020 – April 2024 Assessed Global Fund country funding requests and Strategic Initiative proposals for health systems content and strategy; peer reviewed TRP review forms; analysis and documentation of lessons learned. Co-Lead on TRP Advisory Paper (2021) on strengthening RSSH investments and pandemic preparedness and response. Member of TRP Evolving Model Working Group.

Consultant, CEPA/Wellcome Trust (July – Oct 2019) Assessed the relevance and impact of Wellcome Trust’s work on epidemic preparedness and response, with respect to global health policy and architecture.

Senior Health Adviser then Health Team Leader, DFID Malawi (January 2017 – July 2018) Developed process for allocating and approving budgets for the Health Services Joint Fund with Ministry of Health and funding partners. Responsibility for management of £30m pa health programme and humanitarian, cholera and nutrition programmes. Leadership role in donor support on integration of drug supply chains.

Senior Health Adviser, DFID Sierra Leone (May 2015 – August 2015)
Worked on DFID’s plans for support to rebuild the health system post-Ebola. Started plans for the Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health programme and proposed a process to transition DFID support to drug supply for the Ebola response into parallel support for the drug supply chain for routine services, while minimising risks at all levels.

Head, South Asia Research Hub, DFID Research and Evidence Division (July 2012 – December 2016)
Support to DFID South Asian Country Offices to identify and use evidence. Identified and funded regional research and evidence.


Jean-Marion has a degree from Cambridge University and a Masters in Community Health from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. She is British and lives in Warwickshire, UK. She has lived and worked overseas for 19 years in Malawi, India, Nepal, Cambodia, and Kenya. English is her native language and she has a very basic knowledge of Nepali, Italian and French. She was formerly a Trustee and Vice-Chair of the Britain-Nepal Medical Trust (BNMT).

A full CV including publications is available from Jean-Marion by mailing the address at the top of this profile