Prof. Osman Sankoh

Executive Director

Prof. Osman Sankoh, a Sierra Leonean, became the Executive Director of the INDEPTH Network in October 2007 after serving as Deputy Executive Director from mid 2006. From 2002-2006 he was Manager for Communications and External Relations and was responsible for the Network's scientific programme. Osman has many years of progressive experience in health and demographic surveillance systems and in networking of international scientists and research institutions.

Dr Sankoh joined INDEPTH from the Institute of Public Health at the University of Heidelberg Medical School in Germany where he worked as a Biostatistician / Epidemiologist from December 1999 to June 2002. During that time, he collaborated with the Nouna Health Research Centre in Burkina Faso and spent several research periods in Nouna. During his tenure, INDEPTH has grown in membership and in its international visibility and impact.

Osman is a member of the Advisory Boards/Committees of several international academic journals including The Lancet Global Health and the International Journal of Epidemiology.. He has also acted as a consultant on population and health issues to the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, and the African Census Analysis Project at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

His more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications have appeared in a range of international journals. His work on epidemiology and biostatistics has been published in The Lancet, Lancet Global Health Nature, British Medical Journal, Tropical Medicine and International Health, Journal of Public Health, Global Health Action, BMC Public Health, PLOS ONE, PLOS MED and the International Journal of Epidemiology. Papers on environmental impact assessment and management that he has authored or co-authored have appeared in the African Journal of Environmental Assessment and Management, the Journal of Environmental Management, and Environmental Impact Assessment Review. His work on creative writing includes Hybrid Eyes - Reflections of an African in Europe and Beautiful Colours - Reflections on the Problem of Racism, both of which he first wrote and published in German.

Osman was the co-ordinating editor of INDEPTH’s first monograph entitled Population and Health in Developing Countries – Population, Health and Survival at INDEPTH Sites, published in 2002 by IDRC, Canada.

He holds the position of a visiting professor at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone. Dr Sankoh also holds an honorary associate professorship in the School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa where he has received awards for research excellence.. He is also an honorary professor in the Faculty of Public Health at the Hanoi Medical University in Hanoi, Viet Nam. He has jointly supervised PhD students at the University of Basel in Switzerland.

Osman was born in the village of Warima in Northern Sierra Leone. He attended Tomlinson High School in Songo, Sierra Leone and did undergraduate studies at Njala University in Sierra Leone where he graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor degree in mathematics. He was awarded the 1987 University of Sierra Leone Prize for Academic Excellence. He was a Research/Teaching Assistant in the Department of Mathematics at Njala University (1987-89). He pursued undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Applied Statistics and Spatial Planning at the Techincal University of Dortmund in Germany where he was awarded in 1996 the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Prize for Academic Excellence and Exceptional Social Engagements by a Foreign Student - a prize which cuts across all nationalities. In the Department of Statistics at Dortmund Osman worked as a research assistant in the Chair of Statistical Methods in Genetics and Ecology as well as in the Institute for Economic and Social Statistics.