Dr Syed Zulfiqar Ali

MBBS, MPHealth
PhD Scholar, ANU School of Medicine and Psychology

Dr Ali is a medical graduate with a Masters in Public Health, with over twenty-five years of experience working in major programs in the health sector at mid and senior management levels with a focus on policy development, health financing, public sector reforms and strategic planning.

He has a unique mix of experience - working with the government in Pakistan as well at international level, World Bank, NGOs, WHO, DFID and UNICEF in major programs related to health systems, child health, women’s health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, education and poverty reduction.

Since January 2015, Dr Ali has been the National Team Leader from Oxford Policy Management, UK, on an assignment funded by the German Bank, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), providing technical assistance on health insurance as a Social Health Protection initiative to a large province and region of Pakistan. As a part of the technical assistance, he was involved with concept development, design of the initiative and operational planning of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and German government funded health insurance program in the province. The health insurance program is intended as a demand side intervention with far reaching implications for major reforms in the health care delivery system of Pakistan.

Dr Ali's experience involves leading large private and public health programs at the provincial and federal levels. These include leading a large national level private sector organization (the Aga Khan Health Service, Pakistan) for three years. As the Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Health Service Pakistan, I was involved in developing a 15-year Long Term Strategy for the organization.

His International experience includes working on short and long term assignments with WHO. As a WHO staff member, she have provided technical assistance to the government of Afghanistan in preparing a two-year National Health Plan. He has also led a team that developed the National Health Policy for Iraq, and lead the technical assistance team supporting the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in developing Health Policy and Strategic Plan for the province in 2019.

Dr Ali has conducted stakeholder analyses, conducted key informant interviews, remained involved in Focus Group Discussions and SWOT analyses. He has been involved in reviewing data analysis and translating field survey findings into reports. 

Research interests

Political dimension in government funded health insurance schemes as a means to reach Universal Health Coverage through an in-depth study of the “Social Health Protection Initiative” in Pakistan.

To accomplish the goals of my research, I plan to carry out policy analysis by using primary and secondary data sources.

The primary study consists of analysis of the political process in decision making for adopting UHC strategy and the Social Health Protection Initiative in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. For this study, I will interview key informants from the provincial and district level including ministers for health, finance and planning and members of parliament. I will also interview the staff of the German Development Bank (KfW) involved in decision making. I will use the health sector delivery and financing in Australia, Iran and India as case studies for comparison with the strategy adopted in Pakistan.

The important role private sector plays in delivery of health services provides it with influence over political process and decision making at the government level.  I will try to assess the influence the private sector has over the political process in decisions related to UHC in Pakistan.

For the second study, I will use the data from department of health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at district and provincial levels to see changes in use and access to health services over time. I will conduct secondary data analysis of service data from district health information system, hospital data, budget books and health elated surveys.

  • "COVID-19 Response: Rapid country study: Pakistan”, for the Department for International Development of the government of UK. April 2020.
  • “Social Health Protection Initiative ​in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Pakistan – a model to use Health Insurance to achieve Universal Health Coverage and mainstreaming Private Sector” , Paper submitted to the “Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal” of World Health Organisation, April 2020, awaiting acceptance.
  • “Strategic Plan for the Health Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”, January 2019.
  •  “Health Policy for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”. December 2018.
  • Organizational and Management Review section of “the Report of the Third-Party Validation of the Punjab Health Initiatives Management Company, (PHIMC) Pakistan.” July 2018
  • “Improving Supervisory Mechanism of Department of Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to ensure quality of healthcare services” December 2017.
  • “Health Policy for Iraq”, Ministry of Health Iraq, World Health Organisation office for Iraq. March 2014.
  • “Support to Social Health Protection in Pakistan - Project Design” – KfW , Government of Pakistan, 2011.
  • “Improving Access to Health Care for the Poor: Options and Strategic Roadmap” The World Bank, Benazir Income Support Programme, government of Pakistan. January 2010.
  • “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Sector Strategy 2010 – 2017”,  December 2010.
  • “Comprehensive Development Strategy for Government of North West Frontier province” – as editor & Team Leader, compiled chapters on different sectors, April 2009.
  • “Regional Strategy for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion” for Eastern Mediterranean Region, World Health Organisation. 2005
  • “Vision beyond 2003 – Strategic Plan for National Program for Family Planning & Primary Health Care” Ministry of Health Govt. of Pakistan/ DFID, July 2003.
  • “Progress Report on Agenda for Health Sector Reform” Ministry of Health, May 2003.
  • “EPI Manual for Lady Health Workers”, Ministry of Health/UNICEF, June 2001.
  • " Revised and Updated Manual for EPI vaccinators” Ministry of Health/UNICEF/WHO July 2001.
  • “Health for All in Pakistan, achievements, strategies and challenges" Eastern Mediterranean Journal of Health Vol 6 No 4, July 2000.
  • Adaptation of “Training Manuals for Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI)” for WHO, UNICEF, Ministry of Health Pakistan, 1999 – as Focal Person.
  • “Reproductive Health Service Package for Ministry of Health and Ministry of Population Welfare”, Ministry of Health/Ministry of Population Welfare/Multi Donor Support Unit, Pakistan, November 1999.

Over twenty years as Master Trainer in training sessions for in-service medical and para medic staff on health management, reproductive health and supervision/monitoring.