Allan Hill (USA) is the Andelot Professor of Demography
in the Department of Population and International Health,
Harvard School of Public Health. In addition to teaching
and directing research in population studies in the Department,
he is a resident faculty member of the Center for Population
and Development Studies in Cambridge.
Dr. Hill writes mainly about the interaction between health,
mortality and fertility in the Arab world and West Africa.
There he has extensive experience with surveys and longitudinal
studies on the ground. His principal current interests include:
the estimation of the impact of health and development projects
on fertility and mortality; family demography and the impact
of western contraception on the construction of birth intervals;
and the health, mortality and fertility transitions in Africa
and the Middle East. His current work includes a study of
male fertility and reproductive health in The Gambia and
a study of women's health in the city of Accra, Ghana.
Dr. Hill received his BA from Durham University, UK in
1966 and then worked with the UK Ministry of Overseas Development
on the first census of the Trucial States in 1966-67. From
1967-68, he lectured at Kuwait University and wrote his
Ph.D. thesis on the population of Kuwait (Durham University,
1969). From 1969-73, he was a Lecturer at Aberdeen University
in Scotland before moving to Princeton University where
he was a Fellow at the Office of Population Research. In
1975, he moved to Beirut to take up a Faculty position in
the Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut.
He was also the Regional Representative for the Population
Council in Arab West Asia. Due to the Lebanese civil war,
he was forced to re-locate to the Medical School and the
University of Jordan where he contributed to the establishment
of the first population studies center. In 1979, he moved
to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as
Senior Lecturer, Reader and then Director of the Centre
for Population Studies. He moved to Harvard in 1991.
Dr. Hill was the Secretary-General and Treasurer of the
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population,
1989-97. He is the editor of Health Transition Review and
serves on many other editorial boards, works closely with
non-governmental development agencies and with official
organizations such as WHO, UNICEF and national technical
co-operation agencies such as GTZ and DDA/Switzerland.
· Allan G Hill, WB Macleod, D Joof, P Gomez, AA
Ratcliffe, and G Walraven. (2000) Decline of mortality in
children in rural Gambia: the influence of village-level
Primary Health care. Tropical Medicine and International
Health 5(2): 107-18.
· Ratcliffe, Amy A, Allan G Hill and Gijs Walraven.
(2000) Separate lives, different interests: male and female
reproduction in The Gambia. Bulletin of the World Health
Organization 78(5): 570-9.
· Bledsoe, Caroline H, Fatoumatta Banja, and Allan
G Hill. (1998) "Reproductive mishaps and western contraception:
an African challenge to fertility theory," Population
and Development Review 23, no. 3.
· Bledsoe, Caroline H, and Allan G Hill. (1998) "Social
norms, natural fertility and the resumption of post-partum
contacts in The Gambia," in Alaka Basu and Peter Aaby
(eds.) New approaches to anthropological demography.
· Hill, Allan G. (1996) "Truth lies in the
eye of the beholder: the nature of evidence in demography
and anthropology," in David I Kertzer and Tom Fricke
(eds.) Anthropological demography: toward a new synthesis.
Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, pp. 223-47.
Women's Health in West Africa: Values, Policies and
This proposal takes as its central focus the particular
case of contemporary global and national strategies for
the promotion of women's health in West Africa. The argument
is that globally, procedures have been put in place to set
priorities for the improvement of health in developing countries
and that these procedures may be ill-suited to the effective
promotion of women's health in Africa. These global priority
setting procedures, given shape by organizations such as
UNFPA and the Evidence and Information for Policy cluster
at WHO, include mobilizing international opinion for the
promotion of reproductive health worldwide and measurement
of the burden of disease using variants of the quality-adjusted
life years lived concept.
Working with colleagues in Ghana, the aim is to initiate
a discourse on the links between local needs for the improvement
of women's health, initially in urban Ghana, and priorities
set by the UN family of development agencies and bilateral
donors. The discourse will be centered on the proposal to
take stock of the health of women in the city of Accra and
to make the results internationally comparable. Three sets
of issues surrounding this study will be considered over
the course of the program year: They are:
a) Health status measurement: adding a cultural dimension
A key part of the preparation for the Accra women's health
survey is the critical review of concepts and techniques
for measuring health status. One important topic for debate
concerns the merits of an approach based broadly on women's
health versus the narrower focus on reproductive health.
A series of seminars and a conference will be organized;
each of which will focus on a particular component of the
study. The lead institutions in this discourse will be the
Ghana School of Public Health and the Institute for African
Studies, also on the Legon campus.
b) The family context of illness
A second series of activities will lead to the production
of a descriptive epidemiology of illness at the family level.
This will involve case studies, measuring the costs of an
illness episode and who bears these costs, and the development
of some anthropological perspectives on how the illness
of one individual affects the well being of others. The
Institute of African Studies and the Institute for Statistical,
Social and Economic Research will lead on this theme.
c) Assessment of disability weights
A key element in the calculation of the global or national
burden of disease is the system of weights used to measure
the severity of disability. There will be reviews of how
to re-assess the weights for some women's and reproductive
health conditions, including adding new domains such as
shame and embarrassment as well as the effect on social
activities and social integration. Particular attention
will be paid to mental health including depression and anxiety.
This work will be led by the School of Public Health and
the Institute for African Studies but in conjunction with
the Health Research Unit of the Ministry of Health.