Nyovani is the Director of Research and Development Policy and Head of the Malawi office of the African Institute for Development Policy. Her research focuses on global health issues particularly untangling the influence of social and economic factors on health in low-income countries.
Her most previous employment was as Professor of Demography and Social Statistics at the University of Southampton where she also served as the University’s lead for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity, Associate Dean (Research), and Director of the Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty, and Policy. Nyovani has previously worked as a Lecturer at the University of Malawi and as a Senior Research Scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center in Kenya. Nyovani has over 100 peer-reviewed publications focusing on the social determinants of health in the specific areas of maternal and child health, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, food and nutritional security. A new research area for her is evidence-informed policymaking, focusing on three questions: why, how, and what for.
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.
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.
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.