Sonja Firth

Sonja is a health systems specialist, over 10 years’ experience working in countries to implement evidence-based planning and to improve the quality of data used for health programming. Sonja has a Masters Degree in Public Health and has extensive experience developing and delivering training and providing technical support for implementation and evaluation of complex interventions across the Asia-Pacific region.

Currently, Sonja works as Technical Manager on the Bloomberg Data for Health (D4H) Initiative at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Her primary responsibility involves managing the work on verbal autopsy (VA) - an intervention to improve data on cause of community death where no medically certified cause of death exists - which will substantially improve population cause of death information in D4H countries. Sonja provides technical support for D4H activities in Myanmar and Rwanda with an emphasis on the implementation of VA into their routine CRVS systems. She is also part of the team helping D4H countries to analyse the quality of their hospital data using a tool called ANACONDA.

Previously Sonja was part of the team for the Bill and Melinda Gates and DFAT-funded ‘Investment Case’ Initiative at the University of Queensland, working with government partners and UNICEF in the Philippines and Indonesia to improve the use of data for maternal and child health policy and planning. She subsequently developed and delivered the technical content for a UNICEF-funded evidence-based policy initiative for resilient health systems to improve health planning during and following disasters.