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About me

Tobias Alfvén works as senior researcher in Global Health at the Department of Public Health Sciences at Karolinska Institutet and as a pediatrician at Sachs’ children and youth hospital in Stockholm.

Tobias is a medical doctor, with a PhD in Epidemiology and a BSc in Business Administration and Political Science.  He has for the last 15 years combined research, teaching, clinical medicine in pediatrics and work for the United Nations both in the field and at HQ. Among many responsibilities when working for UNAIDS in Geneva he was representing the organization in the UN expert group on the Millennium Development Goals.  He has worked and done research in Asia, Africa and Europe, and is currently involved in projects in Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Vietnam and Sweden.

At the Department of Public Health at the Karolinska Institutet he is co-chairing the Maternal & Child and Clinical Care sub-group within the Global Health – Health Systems and Policy group. At Sachs’ children and youth hospital he is leading the research network in global health and infectious diseases. Further he is the Chair of the Swedish Society of Medicine´s Committee of Global Health and is a Board member of the Section for Global Health, Swedish Paediatric Society.


  • Licensed pediatrician, Sach´s Children & Youth Hospital 2017
  • Licensed physician, Karolinska Hospital 2003
  • PostDoc in Epidemiology, Karolinska Institutet, 2003-04
  • PhD in Medical Science, Karolinska Institutet, 2002
  • Bachelor in business, including Business Economics, National Economics and Political Science, Stockholm and Uppsala University 2001 

Research description

Tobias research aims to reduce child mortality and morbidity with research projects mostly in low-income-countries, like Uganda, Ethiopia and Viet Nam, but also in Sweden. He is involved in projects around prevention, new diagnostics and treatment of pneumonia, diagnostics of meningitis, improved neonatal survival, how to reach children without access to the formal health care system and Monitoring & Evaluation of the AIDS epidemic and global goals, like the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Teaching portfolio

Tobias teaches in global child health at all different levels at the Karolinska Institutet, and is also involved in teaching related to neglected infectious diseases, pediatric HIV, monitoring and evaluation and the Sustainable Development Goals. He is also one of the teacher´s at “An Introduction to Global Health”, a MOOC for better understanding of challenges and solutions to global health issues from an inter-disciplinary perspective (! ).


Adenoviral detection by recombinase polymerase amplification and vertical flow paper microarray
Nybond S, Réu P, Rhedin S, Svedberg G, Alfvén T, Gantelius J, et al
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2019;411(4):813-822

Introducing a New Algorithm for Classification of Etiology in Studies on Pediatric Pneumonia: Protocol for the Trial of Respiratory Infections in Children for Enhanced Diagnostics Study
Rhedin Sa, Eklundh A, Ryd-rinder M, Naucler P, Mårtensson A, Gantelius J, et al
JMIR research protocols 2019;8(4):e12705-

Accurate and fast neonatal heart rate assessment with a smartphone-based application - a manikin study
Myrnerts Höök S, Pejovic Nj, Marrone G, Tylleskär T, Alfvén T
Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992) 2018;():-

Apropå! Globala hälsosystem och vikten av innovationer
Alfvén T, Helldén D, Pejovic N, Myrnerts Höök S, Tylleskär T
Lakartidningen 2018;115():-

A vertical flow paper-microarray assay with isothermal DNA amplification for detection of Neisseria meningitidis
Rivas L, Reuterswärd P, Rasti R, Herrmann B, Mårtensson A, Alfvén T, et al
Talanta 2018;183():192-200

Management and Follow-up Practices of Children with Unclassified Fever in Rural Ethiopia: Experiences of Health Extension Workers and Caregivers
Funk T, Källander K, Abebe A, Hailemariam A, Alvesson Hm, Alfvén T
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 2018;99(5):1255-1261

Noma-knowledge and practice competence among primary healthcare workers: a cross-sectional study in Burkina Faso
Brattström-stolt L, Funk T, Sié A, Ndiaye C, Alfvén T
International health 2018;():-

Partnerships for child health: capitalising on links between the sustainable development goals
Blomstedt Y, Bhutta Za, Dahlstrand J, Friberg P, Gostin Lo, Nilsson M, et al
BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 2018;360():k125-

Universal versus conditional day 3 follow-up for children with non-severe unclassified fever at the community level in Ethiopia: A cluster-randomised non-inferiority trial
Källander K, Alfvén T, Funk T, Abebe A, Hailemariam A, Getachew D, et al
PLoS medicine 2018;15(4):e1002553-

Universal Versus Conditional Third Day Follow-Up Visit for Children With Nonsevere Unclassified Fever at the Community Level in Ethiopia: Protocol for a Cluster Randomized Noninferiority Trial
Källander K, Alfven T, Workineh Aa, Hailemariam A, Petzold M, Getachew D, et al
JMIR research protocols 2018;7(4):e99-

Global AIDS Reporting-2001 to 2015: Lessons for Monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals
Alfvén T, Erkkola T, Ghys Pd, Padayachy J, Warner-smith M, Rugg D, et al
AIDS and behavior 2017;21(Suppl 1):5-14

Health care workers' perceptions of point-of-care testing in a low-income country-A qualitative study in Southwestern Uganda
Rasti R, Nanjebe D, Karlström J, Muchunguzi C, Mwanga-amumpaire J, Gantelius J, et al
PloS one 2017;12(7):e0182005-

Management of noma: practice competence and knowledge among healthcare workers in a rural district of Zambia
Ahlgren M, Funk T, Marimo C, Ndiaye C, Alfvén T
Global health action 2017;10(1):1340253-

Monitoring HIV-Related Laws and Policies: Lessons for AIDS and Global Health in Agenda 2030
Torres Ma, Gruskin S, Buse K, Erkkola T, Bendaud V, Alfvén T
AIDS and behavior 2017;21(Suppl 1):51-61

The HIV Epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa is Aging: Evidence from the Demographic and Health Surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa
Vollmer S, Harttgen K, Alfven T, Padayachy J, Ghys P, Bärnighausen T
AIDS and behavior 2017;21(Suppl 1):101-113

The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Monitoring the Global AIDS Response
Smith J, Mallouris C, Lee K, Alfvén T
AIDS and behavior 2017;21(Suppl 1):44-50

HIV sero-discordance among married HIV patients initiating anti-retroviral therapy in northern Vietnam
Van Tam V, Cuong Dd, Alfven T, Phuc Hd, Chuc Nt, Hoa Np, et al
AIDS research and therapy 2016;13():39-

Pneumococcal Carriage in Children under Five Years in Uganda-Will Present Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines Be Appropriate?
Lindstrand A, Kalyango J, Alfvén T, Darenberg J, Kadobera D, Bwanga F, et al
PloS one 2016;11(11):e0166018-

Unaltered pneumococcal carriage prevalence due to expansion of non-vaccine types of low invasive potential 8years after vaccine introduction in Stockholm, Sweden
Lindstrand A, Galanis I, Darenberg J, Morfeldt E, Naucler P, Blennow M, et al
Vaccine 2016;34(38):4565-4571

Being perceived as 'a real woman' or following one's own convictions: a qualitative study to understand individual, family, and community influences on the place of childbirth in Busia, Kenya
Dahlberg M, Södergård B, Thorson A, Alfvén T, Awiti-ujiji O
Culture, health & sexuality 2015;17(3):326-42

HIV surveys in older adults: better data, better health
Vollmer S, Alfven T, Padayachy J, Harttgen K, Ghys Pd, Barnighausen T
LANCET HIV 2015;2(2):E40-E41

HIV surveys in older adults: better data, better health
Vollmer S, Alfven T, Padayachy J, Harttgen K, Ghys Pd, Bärnighausen T
The lancet. HIV 2015;2(2):e40-1

A decade of investments in monitoring the HIV epidemic: how far have we come? A descriptive analysis
Alfven T, Mcdougal L, Frescura L, Aran C, Amler P, Gill W
Health research policy and systems 2014;12():62-

Leveraging non-binding instruments for global health governance: reflections from the Global AIDS Reporting Mechanism for WHO reform
Taylor Al, Alfven T, Hougendobler D, Tanaka S, Buse K
PUBLIC HEALTH 2014;128(2):151-60

Nonbinding Legal Instruments in Governance for Global Health: Lessons from the Global AIDS Reporting Mechanism
Taylor A, Alfven T, Hougendobler D, Buse K

Sinusitis and pneumonia hospitalization after introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
Lindstrand A, Bennet R, Galanis I, Blennow M, Ask Ls, Dennison Sh, et al
Pediatrics 2014;134(6):e1528-36

[Global challenges with HIV, malaria and tuberculosis]
Ekström Am, Färnert A, Thorson A, Alfvén T
Lakartidningen 2013;110(1-2):33-6

High adherence to antimalarials and antibiotics under integrated community case management of illness in children less than five years in eastern Uganda
Kalyango Jn, Rutebemberwa E, Karamagi C, Mworozi E, Ssali S, Alfven T, et al
PloS one 2013;8(3):e60481-

Identifying structural barriers to an effective HIV response: using the National Composite Policy Index data to evaluate the human rights, legal and policy environment
Gruskin S, Ferguson L, Alfven T, Rugg D, Peersman G

Integrated community case management of malaria and pneumonia increases prompt and appropriate treatment for pneumonia symptoms in children under five years in Eastern Uganda
Kalyango Jn, Alfven T, Peterson S, Mugenyi K, Karamagi C, Rutebemberwa E
Malaria journal 2013;12():340-

[Mortality decreases, but seven million children does still die every year]
Alfvén T, Axelson H, Lindstrand A, Peterson Ss, Persson La
Lakartidningen 2013;110(1-2):28-30

[UN health goals hard to reach]
Alfvén T, Ekström Am, Thorson A, Diwan V
Lakartidningen 2013;110(1-2):24-6

Anaphylaxis and reactions to foods in children - a population-based case study of emergency department visits
Vetander M, Helander D, Flodstrom C, Ostblom E, Alfven T, Ly Dh, et al

Increased use of community medicine distributors and rational use of drugs in children less than five years of age in Uganda caused by integrated community case management of fever
Kalyango Jn, Lindstrand A, Rutebemberwa E, Ssali S, Kadobera D, Karamagi C, et al
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 2012;87(5 Suppl):36-45

Inequalities in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health in Vietnam: a retrospective study of survey data for 1997-2006
Axelson H, Gerdtham Ug, Ekman B, Dinh Tp, Alfvén T
BMC health services research 2012;12():456-

Performance of community health workers under integrated community case management of childhood illnesses in eastern Uganda
Kalyango Jn, Rutebemberwa E, Alfven T, Ssali S, Peterson S, Karamagi C
Malaria journal 2012;11():282-

Classification of anaphylaxis and utility of the EAACI Taskforce position paper on Anaphylaxis in Children
Vetander M, Helander D, Lindquist C, Hedlin G, Alfven T, Ostblom E, et al

"It is not that I forget, it's just that I don't want other people to know": barriers to and strategies for adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV patients in Northern Vietnam
Vu Vt, Pharris A, Thorson A, Alfven T, Larsson M

Bone mineral density changes in relation to environmental PCB exposure
Hodgson S, Thomas L, Fattore E, Lind Pm, Alfven T, Hellstrom L, et al

Allergic diseases and atopic sensitisation in children related to farming and anthroposophic lifestyle - the PARSIFAL study (vol 61, pg 414, 2006)
Alfven T, Braun-fahrlander C, Brunekreef B, Von Mutius E, Riedler J, Scheynius A
ALLERGY 2007;62(4):455-455

PCB exposure and bone mineral density in a general population sample
Hodgson S, Thomas L, Fattore E, Alfven T, Lind M, Hellstrom L
EPIDEMIOLOGY 2007;18(5):S87-S87

Allergic diseases and atopic sensitization in children related to farming and anthroposophic lifestyle - the PARSIFAL study
Parsifal Study Grp, Alfven T, Braun-fahrlander C, Brunekreef B, Von Mutius E, Riedler J, et al
ALLERGY 2006;61(4):414-21

Exposure to microbial components and allergens in population studies: a comparison of two house dust collection methods applied by participants and fieldworkers
Parsifal Study Grp, Schram-bijkerk D, Doekes G, Boeve M, Douwes J, Riedler J, et al
INDOOR AIR 2006;16(6):414-25

Creatinine versus specific gravity-adjusted urinary cadmium concentrations
Suwazono Y, Akesson A, Alfven T, Jarup L, Vahter M
BIOMARKERS 2005;10(2-3):117-26

Cadmium exposure and distal forearm fractures
Alfven T, Elinder Cg, Hellstrom L, Lagarde F, Jarup L

Low level cadmium exposure, renal and bone effects - the OSCAR study
Jarup L, Alfven T
BIOMETALS 2004;17(5):505-9

The effect of factors related to urinary creatinine excretion when evaluating creatinine adjusted urinary cadmium concentrations
Suwazono Y, Akesson A, Alfven T, Kobayashi E, Nogawa K, Nakagawa H, et al

NAG as a marker of cadmium induced tubular renal damage
Alfven T, Elinder Cg, Jarup L
EPIDEMIOLOGY 2003;14(5):S61-S62

Cadmium and lead in blood in relation to low bone mineral density and tubular proteinuria
Alfven T, Jarup L, Elinder Cg

Cadmium exposure and distal forearm fractures
Alfven T, Elinder Cg, Hellstrom L, Lagarde F, Jarup L
EPIDEMIOLOGY 2002;13(4):S161-S161

Low-level cadmium exposure and osteoporosis
Alfven T, Elinder Cg, Carlsson Md, Grubb A, Hellstrom L, Persson B, et al

Low level exposure to cadmium and early kidney damage: the OSCAR study
Jarup L, Hellstrom L, Alfven T, Carlsson Md, Grubb A, Persson B, et al

Cadmium may be a risk factor for osteoporosis
Jarup L, Alfven T, Persson B, Toss G, Elinder Cg

[Cadmium--a pubic health problem?]
Alfvén T, Elinder Cg, Järup L
Nordisk medicin 1997;112(9):331-3

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