Nyovani is a Professor of Demography and Social Statistics at the University of Southampton where she co-leads the Population Health University Strategic Research Group and co-directs the Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty, and Policy.
She has previously worked as a lecturer in Malawi, and between 2004-2007, she took unpaid leave to work as a Senior Research Scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center in Kenya.
Her research focuses on global health issues particularly untangling the influence of social and economic factors on health in low-income countries.
Nyovani has also designed and implemented interventions to inform policy and practitioners. She has published in international journals on child survival, family planning, reproductive and maternal health, HIV/AIDS, child nutritional status, and infant feeding practices.
Her current research is looking at fertility in Malawi, maternal and child health and young child feeding practices in Kenya, school attendance in Sierra Leone, and understanding the links between food security and the environment in Africa and Latin America. Since 2009, she has served on the Guttmacher Institute Board of Directors.
Nyovani’s research has had wide impacts. The World Health Organization cites her work on frequency and timing of antenatal care in Kenya in their review and recommendations of practices that promote child survival; she is currently advising WHO AFRO Region and the Government of Mauritius on the social and economic determinants of health with a focus on non-communicable diseases; she has advised the UK, Swedish, Kenya, Malawi and Botswana governments on the social determinants of HIV/AIDS and reproductive health in general.
Nyovani also sits on a number of UK research council committees (E.g. ESRC and MRC), where she advises on strategic matters.
In April 2007, she addressed the 40th Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development in New York, where she highlighted why it is important to invest in the health and education of young people in Africa.
Between 2006-2009, she chaired a prestigious scientific panel of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Populations (IUSSP) on population growth and its implications for human welfare in Africa.
In the last 2 years, Nyovani has advised the Packard and Hewlett Foundations and also advised Melinda French Gates regarding family planning in Africa as she prepared for her TEDx speech in Berlin and London Family Planning Summit in 2012.