About Stephan Brenner

I am a researcher at the Institute for Public Health of the University of Heidelberg in Germany and part of an interdisciplinary team of social and medical scientists. Our broader research focus is on health systems strengthening and health care financing. I myself am a clinician by training with many years of experience in both clinical care and public health research in different Sub-Saharan African countries. Our research team has conducted several external evaluations of different PBF programs in Malawi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and the Republic of Congo. The main focus of my research is to understand the impact PBF programs on different aspects of quality of care (clinical performance, service readiness, client and provider perception). As a researcher with a clinical background I am interested in the impact performance incentives have on clinical and organizational performance related to facility-based healthcare provision and service quality. My current focus on quality of care assessment is mainly built on identifying structural and process indicators most relevant and most directly linked to mortality reduction in a given target population and their relation to prevailing routines in clinical and organizational performance of health workers and health facilities in low- and middle income countries. I personally consider PBF foremost as a financing mechanism wich the potential to advance strategic purchasing options, especially in health systems where service purchasing is dominated by budget- or other input-based financial arrangements. Being an active purchasing strategy, PBF currently represents an ideal approach to incentivizing high quality service outputs and outcomes, especially in low- and middle-income countries. At the same time, PBF also provides an open floor for an interdisciplinary approach towards understanding and discussing those aspects most relevant to quality improvement in health service provision.

Native or Bilingual Proficiency
Limited Working Proficiency
Full Professional Proficiency

Interests are where experts would like to focus their attention on Collectivity and try new fields.


Residency (clinical specialty training) in Emergency Medicine
Washington University
July 2006 to June 2010
Saint Louis, United States
Degree: Emergency Medicine Specialist

Dr. med.
University of Tübingen
June 2001 to June 2006
Tübingen, Germany
MD/PhD program at the Institut für Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen including one year of field data collection at the Laboratoire de Recherche at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Lambaréné, Gabon

Master of International Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health
July 2005 to June 2006
Boston, United States
Master of Public Health within the Department of Global Health & Population


Researcher and Scientific Coordinator
Institute for Public Health
April 2012 to Present
Heidelberg, Germany
Project: Effect of RBF4MNH on quality of and access to maternal and neonatal health care in Malawi Responsibilities: Scientific coordination and scientific lead of study component on quality of care (funding: USAID|TRAction) Project: Mixed methods evaluation of the SSDI Performance-Based Incentives program to improve uptake and quality of essential health care services in Malawi Responsibilities: Scientific lead researcher for quality of care study component (funding: USAID|TRAction) Project: Impact evaluation for Health Performance-Based Financing in Burkina Faso Responsibilities: Scientific lead researcher for quality of care study component (funding: World Bank) Project: The potential of Microfinance Institutions to advance progress towards Universal Health Coverage through Micro Health Insurance: A mixed methods study in Malawi Responsibility: Scientific contributions to quality of care aspects in economic evaluation of utilization and expenditures related to non-communicable diseases (funding: DFG)

Senior Technical Advisor and Field Program Director
Columbia University, New York
July 2010 to February 2012
Kumasi, Ghana
Project: Systems Improvement at District Hospitals and Regional Training of Emergency Care (sidHARTe) Responsibilities: Technical expert advisor for emergency care delivery systems and health technology to the Ghana Ministry of Health Supervision of expatriate physicians staffing the emergency department of the district hospitals in Kintampo (Brong-Afaso) and Mampong (Ashanti)


Improving quality of maternal and newborn healthcare services: Findings from an implementation study on the effects of a Results-Based Financing scheme in Malawi.
Authors: Danielle Wilhelm , Julia Lohmann, Christabel Kambala, Jobiba Chinkhumba, Adamson S. Muula AS, Manuela De Allegri, 2017
Type of Doc: Scientifc Paper | Type of Publication: Scientific Journal

A scoping review on determinants of unmet need for family planning among women of reproductive age in low and middle income countries.
Authors: Joseph K. Wulifan, Albrecht Jahn, Manuela De Allegri, 2016
Type of Doc: Scientifc Paper | Type of Publication: Scientific Journal

The quality of clinical maternal and neonatal healthcare - a strategy for identifying 'routine care signal functions'.
Authors: Manuela De Allegri, Sabine Gabrysch, Jobiba Chinkhumba, Malabika Sarker, Adamson S. Muula, 2015
Type of Doc: Scientifc Paper | Type of Publication: Scientific Journal

Design of an impact evaluation using a mixed methods model--an explanatory assessment of the effects of results-based financing mechanisms on maternal healthcare services in Malawi.
Authors: Adamson S. Muula, Paul J. Robyn, Till Bärnighausen, Malabika Sarker, Don P. Mathanga, Thomas Bossert, Manuela De Allegri, 2014
Type of Doc: Scientifc Paper | Type of Publication: Scientific Journal