Anna Kågesten

Anna Kågesten

Assistant Professor | Docent
Telephone: +46852482826
Visiting address: Widerströmska huset Tomtebodavägen 18 A, plan 3, 17165 Solna
Postal address: K9 Global folkhälsa, K9 GPH Ekström Kågesten, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • Associate Professor in Global Health with focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Adolescent Health. Teamleder within the Global and Sexual Health research group at the Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet.

    Previous professional experience as a research consultant to several international organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO). I also have experience working with SRHR within the Swedish health-care system and improving the quality of sexuality education in Swedish schools.

    PhD from the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2017)
    Master of Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology and global health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2012).
    Bachelor of Public Health from the University of Gothenburg (2007).

    Academic honours, awards and prizes
    Phi Beta Kappa, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2017)
    Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2017)
    Caroline Cochrane Award for Population and Reproductive Health (2015)
    Daphne Purves Award, Graduate Women International (2014)
    Fellowship in Family Planning, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2013, 2014, 2016)
    International Peace Scholar, P.E.O International (2011, 2012)
    Fulbright Grant, Fulbright Commission Sweden (2011)


  • My research focuses on the intersection between social and structural determinants of health, such as gender inequality and empowerment, with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The overall aim of my research is to promote SRHR among young people and vulnerable populations, by generating evidence to inform policy and optimize interventions that are accessible, acceptable and sustainable within resource-limited contexts. I am particularly interested in 1) understanding the complexities, disparities and drivers of gender norms, violence and its link with SRHR among young people in resource-limited contexts

  • 2) optimizing implementation and evaluation of interventions to promote sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing among younger as well as older adolescents
  • 3) improving measurement and monitoring of SRHR and other sensitive topics that are critical to advance health and wellbeing.

    I use quantitative and qualitative methods to explore a broad range of topics related to SRHR, such as determinants of teenage pregnancy in low-income settings, norms and values related to gender and sexuality, sexual- and gender-based violence, HIV prevention, fertility intentions, adolescent sexual wellbeing, sexual risk-taking and early sexual debut, and interventions to improve adolescent SRHR. Most of my research is located in low- and lower-middle income countries and I have been part of several multi-county studies spanning sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, South America, North America and Europe.

    I have a PhD from the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus on adolescent reproductive health and epidemiology (2017), and a Master in Public Health from the same institution (2012).

    Areas of expertise include:

    Sexual and reproductive health and rights

    Adolescent health

    Very young adolescents

    Sexual and gender-based violence

    Social and gender norms



  • Intervention research

    Systematic reviews


  • Current main projects and collaborations:

    ENding HIV transmission to infants by Generating Evidence to optimize prevention and care for pregnant and postpartum Adolescent Girls and young women with HIV (ENGAGE): I am the PI for this 5-year project which seeks to optimize prevention of vertical HIV transmission care for pregnant and postpartum adolescent girls and young women in Tanzania. In collaboration with our co-investigators at Management Development for Health in Tanzania, we will use data from a large registry-based cohort of pregnant and postpartum girls and young women with HIV, and combine this with evidence reviews and qualitative interviews to better understand the needs of most-at-risk AGYW. Findings will be used to co-design and test an intervention package that can be easily implemented in routine healthcare to optimize prevention of vertical HIV transmission services (VR funded 2023-2027).

    GLOBE-HPV: multi-country study funded by the Gates Foundation, aiming to estimate the burden of HPV as well as barriers to prevention/treatment among girls and women countries without national HPV vaccination programs. I am the KI lead investigator for this study which is led by the the International Vaccine Institute in collaboration with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and collaborators in eight countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia). KI is leading the qualitative sub-studies to further understand how gender-related dynamics create barriers to HPV prevention, screening, and treatment services. Read more about the project here:

    BUDDY study: Collaboration with the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation on a project to assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on gender-based violence among young people living with and without HIV in South Africa. This includes a PhD project to evaluate the effect of a school-based primary prevention intervention to prevent gender-based violence during times of public health crises (VR funded 2020-2022, extended).

    HPV-END-IT: I am a co-investigator on this project which seeks to address HPV vaccine hesitancy by co-designing a digital health intervention with and for socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents and parents/guardians in Sweden (FORTE funded 2024-2027)

    Selected other projects

    Research project in Argentina focusing self-managed community-based abortion in collaboration with CEDES and CREP in Argentina, World Health Organisation in Geneva, and RIVM in the Netherlands (VR funded)

    Explore4Action, evaluation of the comprehensive sexuality education programme Setara in Indonesia together with Rutgers International (Gates foundation funded)

    Norms and values related to gender &

  • SRHR in four sub-Saharan African countries together with World Values Survey and Expertbyrån för biståndsanalys

    Prevention of sexual and gender-based violence among adolescents in Kenya, Malawi and South Sudan

    Sexual wellbeing and consent among young people in Ecuador and Uganda, collaboration with Plan International and Rutgers International:

    Women's economic empowerment India, collaboration with the World Values Survey, University of California San Diego and Gates Foundation

    WelTel PMTCT randomised controlled trial in western Kenya

    SRHR knowledge, attitudes and behaviours among newly-arrived migrants in Stockholm


  • Course leader, Planning and design of public health interventions, 7.5 credits, Stockholm University in collaboration with KI
    Course Leader, Human Rights and International Organizations in a Global Health Perspective, 7.5 credits, KI
    Co-course Leader, Global Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Methods, Concepts and Implications for Policy and Practice, 3 credits, KI
    Lecturer at graduate and undergraduate levels on topics related to SRHR, gender norms and health, adolescent health and SRHR, human rights, systematic reviews, peer-reviewing, etc.
    Supervision for several doctoral and master students

Selected publications


All other publications


  • Assistant Professor, Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet, 2020-2027

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 2023

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