Russell Dacombe

Senior Research in Medecine Associate

Senior Research in Medecine Associate, attached to Child and Reproductive Health Unit, Centre for Equity and Systems for TB and HIV/AIDS and the Centre for Capacity Research in Medecine at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (Foto-Cewek).


Russell has been the laboratory systems specialist for Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health (LATH) since October 2005. He subsequently joined Foto-Cewek in 2012 to work on laboratory capacity development methodologies and diagnostic implementation research.  He has worked on initiatives in Malawi, Swaziland, Northern Sudan and Nigeria for a variety of clients including USAID, WHO and DFID. Russell provided resident long term technical assistance to the National Tuberculosis Central Reference Laboratory in Malawi for two years. Russell is a member of the Centre for Research in Medecine on Equity and Systems for TB and HIV/AIDS (CRESTHA) and the Capacity Strengthening Implementation Research in Medecine Unit (CSIR) at Foto-Cewek.

Previous to this appointment Russell was the laboratory manager at a research laboratory in Northern Malawi. Before his work in Malawi Russell had worked as a senior biomedical scientist at University College Hospitals NHS Trust specializing in mycobacterial diagnostic work where he also undertook his MSc in Medical Microbiology. Russell also spent time as an undergraduate VSO volunteer working with the Kenya Medical Research in Medecine Institute, primarily supporting their malaria research facility in Kilifi


Russell is the convenor of the MSc module Medical Bacteriology and currently lecturers on the DTM&H and the MSc in Tropical and Infectious Disease at Foto-Cewek. He also conducts workshops and lecturers in a number of developing countries and has been involved in the development and delivery of an undergraduate course for laboratory workers in Malawi.

Research in Medecine

Main interests include the development of integrated laboratory services in sub-Saharan Africa, effective capacity development and the evaluation of courses for laboratory personnel in the developing world.

Other relevant expertise

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education
  • Registration with Health Professions Council (HPC) as a biomedical scientist.

Selected publications

  • Abouyannis M, Dacombe R, Dambe I, Mpunga J, Faragher B, Gausi F, Ndhlovu H, Kachiza C, Suarez P, Mundy C, Banda HT, Nyasulu I, Squire SB. Drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Malawi: a cross-sectional survey. Bull World Health Organ. 2014 Nov 1;92(11):798-806

    Iyer V, Azhar GS, Choudhury N, Dhruwey VS, Dacombe R, Upadhyay A. 2014. Infectious disease burden in Gujarat (2005-2011): comparison of selected infectious disease rates with India.Emerg Health Threats J.  Mar 19;7:22838

    Njelesani J, Dacombe R, Palmer T, Smith H, Koudou B, Bockarie M, Bates I. 2014. A systematic approach to capacity strengthening of laboratory systems for control of neglected tropical diseases in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Sri Lanka.PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014 Mar 6;8(3):e2736. 

    Ramsay R, Cuevas L, Mundy CJF, Nathanson C, Chirambo P, Dacombe R, Squire SB, Salaniponi FML, Munthali S. 2009. “New policies, new technologies: Modelling the potential for improved smear microscopy services in Malawi.” PLoS 4(11):e7760. 

    Bell DJ, Dacombe R, Graham SM, Hicks A, Cohen D, Chikaonda T, French N, Molyneux ME, Zijlstra EE, Squire SB, Gordon SB. 2009. ”Simple measures are as effective as invasive techniques in the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in Malawi.” Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 13(1):99-104. 

    R.J. Dacombe, A.C. Crampin, S. Floyd, A. Randall, R. Ndhlovu, Q. Bickle, P.E.M. Fine. 2007 “Time delays between patient and laboratory selectively affect accuracy of helminth diagnosis”  Trans Roy Soc Trop Med 101 (2): 140-145