Anna Kågesten Pressbild foto Joel Nilsson

Anna Kågesten

Assistant professor

About me

Assistant Professor in Global Sexual and Reproductive Health within the Global and Sexual Health research group at the Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet.

Previous professional experience as a research consultant to several international organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO). I also have experience working with SRHR within the Swedish health-care system and improving the quality of sexuality education in Swedish schools. 

Research description

My research focuses on the intersection between social and structural determinants of health, such as gender inequality and empowerment, with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The overall aim of my research is to promote SRHR among young people and vulnerable populations, by generating evidence to inform policy and optimize interventions that are accessible, acceptable and sustainable within resource-limited contexts. I am particularly interested in 1) understanding the complexities, disparities and drivers of gender norms, violence and its link with SRHR among young people in resource-limited contexts; 2) optimizing implementation and evaluation of interventions to promote sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing among younger as well as older adolescents; 3) improving measurement and monitoring of SRHR and other sensitive topics that are critical to advance health and wellbeing.

I use quantitative and qualitative methods to explore a broad range of topics related to SRHR, such as determinants of teenage pregnancy in low-income settings, norms and values related to gender and sexuality, fertility intentions, adolescent sexual wellbeing, prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission of HIV, gender-based violence, sexual risk-taking and early sexual debut, and interventions to improve adolescent SRHR. Most of my research is located in low- and lower-middle income countries and I have been part of several multi-county studies spanning sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, South America, North America and Europe.

I have a PhD from the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus on adolescent reproductive health and epidemiology (2017), and a Master in Public Health from the same institution (2012).

Areas of expertise include:

  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights

  • Adolescent health

  • Very young adolescents

  • Gender, gender norms and health

  • Maternal and child health

  • Epidemiology

  • Global Health

  • Systematic reviews


Examples of projects and collaborations:

  • Explore4Action, evaluation of the comprehensive sexuality education programme Setara in Indonesia together with Rutgers International

  • Norms and values related to gender & SRHR in four sub-Saharan African countries together with World Values Survey  and Expertbyrån för biståndsanalys

  • School-based primary prevention of sexual- and gender-based violence among adolescents in peri-urban Cape Town, South Africa (funded by Vetenskapsrådet)

  • Prevention of sexual and gender-based violence among adolescents in Kenya, Malawi and South Sudan

  • Women's economic empowerment India, collaboration with the World Values Survey, University of California San Diego and Gates Foundation

  • WelTel PMTCT project in western Kenya

  • SRHR knowledge, attitudes and behaviours among newly-arrived migrants in Stockholm


Link to publications

Teaching portfolio


  • PhD from the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2017)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) in epidemiology and global health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2012).
  • Bachelor of Public Health from the University of Gothenburg (2007). 

Academic honours, awards and prizes