Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A head and shoulders photo of IHTM alumna Bisharo Maalim

Bisharo Europe Maalim (IHTM 2022)

Health & Nutrition Programme Manager at Trocaire, Horn and East Africa Region

Bisharo was born and grew up in Kenya. She trained in Development Studies at Mount Kenya University and then completed a Diploma in Reproductive Health in Limited Resource Settings at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Bisharo is passionate about making a meaningful impact in the lives of vulnerable and marginalised populations, and she has over a decade of experience serving communities in refugee settings, internally displaced person camps, and marginalised areas mainly in Somalia and North Kenya. She has specialised in health systems and pioneered innovative projects in health, nutrition, protection, and WASH programs within humanitarian settings in Fragile, Conflict, and Armed States (FCAS).

Post IHTM, Bisharo returned to the iNGO, Trocaire, to run a health programme supporting four district hospitals, health centres and mobile outreach clinics in hard to reach areas in South Central Somalia.

The main attraction for Bisharo was the focus of IHTM on limited resource settings, which set the MSc apart from courses at other universities. Bisharo was drawn by the breadth and content of IHTM, particularly the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, RMNCAH, and Paradigms and Tools for Global Health modules.
A key component for Bisharo was the communications and leadership training, which is an integral part of the course. Effective communication is essential for advocating for vulnerable populations and mobilising support for humanitarian initiatives in settings like Somalia. The communication and media training provided, honed her ability to convey health-related information accurately and compellingly to diverse audiences. Whether engaging with local communities, collaborating with partner organisations and the Ministry of Health, or raising awareness on global health issues, Bisharo is better equipped to amplify voices, foster dialogue, and drive positive change through strategic communication efforts.

Trocaire was very supportive in enabling Bisharo to take time out to study, and she returned to the organisation following IHTM, taking up a strategic role in programme management. 

On returning to work, Bisharo immediately put into practice elements of IHTM teaching. Somalia, where Bisharo works, is severely affected by climate change, and Bisharo returned as the country was suffering from a five-year drought followed by extensive flooding that affected over a million people. The intersection of climate change and health is a central focus of the IHTM program, providing Bisharo with a holistic understanding of the interconnectedness between environmental factors and public health outcomes. Armed with this knowledge, she was better prepared to address the health impacts of climate change, adapt to changing conditions, and implement sustainable interventions that promote resilience and mitigate health risks in vulnerable communities.
During her time at IHTM, Bisharo and colleagues presented a policy brief to an all-party parliamentary group at the Houses of Parliament, on the impact of climate change on global health and what is needed for policymakers to better prepare health systems. Bisharo was able to apply some of what she had learnt, through preparing the policy brief, to her work in Somalia.
Health policy-making and stakeholder management have also proved invaluable in her new role, where engagement with varied audiences, from the Ministry of Health and politicians to the local community, is key to running a successful programme.
The RMNCAH module was particularly impactful, setting the guidelines for managing projects in a humanitarian context and ensuring that the programme is people-centred. The Ethics Week was also very beneficial, with Bisharo implementing much of the ethics teaching into her work.

Bisharo’s IHTM placement and dissertation was with the University of Liberia School of Public Health, where she researched ‘Boosters and barriers to access and coverage of community-based management of acute malnutrition in Urban Montserrado/Grand Bassa, Liberia.’ This proved to be an invaluable experience for Bisharo’s return to work in Somalia, which has one of the highest rates of severe, acute malnutrition in children under five years old. Bisharo plans to implement a similar study to that delivered in Liberia, as Somalia and Liberia have similar contexts of a country affected by armed conflicts.

The Last Word
The IHTM course has been instrumental in shaping my identity as a humanitarian worker, equipping me with the knowledge, skills, and perspective needed to navigate complex health challenges. I can now navigate challenging situations with diplomacy, empathy, and resilience. Whether advocating for access to healthcare in conflict-affected areas, brokering partnerships with government agencies, or securing resources for emergency response efforts, I am better equipped to negotiate effectively and forge meaningful partnerships that advance humanitarian objectives.

Watch Bisharo’s call to action on Universal Health Coverage Day. This is a mobile clinic in one of the Internally Displaced Camps. Trocaire provides integrated health and nutrition services to mothers and children.

IHTM alumna Bisharo Maalim boards a plane with her IHTM rucksack in Somalia