Jerry Okoth Okal is an associate at the Population Council. He designs and implements research on HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of key and vulnerable population groups, such as persons living with HIV, adolescents and young people, people who inject drugs, female sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people with disability in low- and middle-income countries. He provides technical assistance for the implementation of comprehensive HIV-SRH programs for key and vulnerable population groups. He collaborates with in-country program implementers, researchers, and stakeholders, such as ministries of health and other agencies, to scale up the provision of HIV-SRH services, generate evidence, and promote uptake by program implementers and policymakers at local, national, and global levels.
Okal has provided oversight to several small- and large-scale studies and technical assistance projects with budgets from US $120,000 to US $5 million funded by major agencies, including PEPFAR, the CDC, USAID, UNFPA, the Gates Foundation, IRC, and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). He currently manages a portfolio that focuses on providing technical assistance for comprehensive prevention programs aimed at key and vulnerable populations. His research and technical support spans several sub-Saharan African countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, and Eswatini (Swaziland).
Before joining the Council, Okal was a research officer at both the International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH) and the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), where he implemented both social and behavioral studies including randomized, controlled trials on the introduction of ARVs, menstrual cups, migration, and adolescent health.
Okal is the author of 60 peer-reviewed papers, technical reports, and book chapters. He has presented his work in several local and international meetings and conferences, highlighting the salience of HIV-SRH issues across contexts and populations, which has helped shape programs. He is a member of regional and international HIV/AIDS associations, including ICASA, International AIDS Society, and AIDS, and he has actively participated in these associations as a presenter and discussant. He is a regular reviewer for various leading journals, including BMC, The Lancet, PLOS One and GHSP, among others.
Okal received his PhD in social and health sciences-medical-social sciences from Ghent University in Belgium. He also holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Moi University in Kenya.