Senior Associate, Zambia Country Director, and Senior Country Advisor
Michael Mbizvo is senior associate and director of the Population Council’s office in Zambia. Mbizvo provides strategic direction and technical oversight to the Council’s research initiatives to advance reproductive health, including family planning services; HIV prevention, care, and services; gender-based violence; and adolescent sexual and reproductive health programs and policies in Zambia. Under Mbizvo’s leadership, the Council is generating new evidence in critical program areas, including models of interventions for preventing unplanned pregnancy and HIV, and promoting care packages among adolescent girls and young women, surveillance for HIV recent infections, prevention of gender-based violence, girls’ empowerment, and integrated services delivery.
Mbizvo is also a professor in reproductive health sciences, and he joined the Population Council after serving as director of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization (WHO/HQ), where he worked in various capacities for more than 15 years. As director, Mbizvo provided research leadership to a team of 110 people and led collaborations with national, regional, and global partners to strengthen research capacity and improve sexual and reproductive health, particularly in developing countries. Prior to this, Mbizvo served as the manager for male reproductive health, within the co-sponsored UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Program of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, providing research oversight in the development of contraceptive methods for men. He was a senior scientist in the Director’s Office, advising on efforts to increase access to reproductive health and developing new approaches to strengthen research capacity related to improving women’s health.
Before joining WHO, Mbizvo, a Zimbabwean national, was a research director and professor at the University of Zimbabwe Medical School, with specialist training in andrology, human reproduction, and reproductive epidemiology. He cofounded the regional sexual and reproductive health, HIV, and gender research methods course in which he taught research proposal writing, including research ethics, to postgraduates for more than 18 years, at Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute.
Mbizvo is the founding chairman of ZimHealth, a philanthropic organization formed in 2008 that helps make maternal and child health care more accessible for poorer communities in Zimbabwe. ZimHealth has raised more than $4,000,000 to support various centers throughout Zimbabwe. Mbizvo is chair of the International Medical Advisory Panel to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and a member of the Board of Trustees for the journal Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters.
He has presented more than 600 scientific papers internationally and is published widely in peer-reviewed journals. His paper, “Family planning: Choices and challenges for developing countries,” has been cited and downloaded more than 800 times, and he has close to 4,000 scientific citations of his work. Mbizvo has been on the editorial boards of many international journals, including the online journal BMC Reproductive Health. Mbizvo also published the book Maternal Mortality in Rural and Urban Zimbabwe: Social and Reproductive Factors in an Incident-Case Referent Study, which provided the first community-based estimate of maternal mortality and risk factors in Zimbabwe.
Mbizvo holds a DPhil in human reproduction and an MPhil in medical sciences from the University of Zimbabwe and an MSc in reproductive sciences from Monash University, Australia. His fields of interest include andrology, male reproductive health, reproductive epidemiology and behavior, adolescents’ health, gender dynamics, and sexual and reproductive health, as well as medical laboratory sciences.