Detlef Schwefel


Wikipedia biography in German

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Type of expertise:     health systems analysis, health systems management, health economics, health financing, 
health insurance systems, education and training, health promotion, social issues and health, poverty, socio-economic impacts, development policy
  1. Family name:     Schwefel 
  2. First name:         Detlef 
  3. Date of birth:      21.06.1942
  4. Nationality:        German
5. Education:
Institution ( Date from - Date to ) Degrees or diplomas obtained
Free University of Berlin ( 08.63–07.68 ) Diploma in sociology
University of Bremen ( 09.73 ) Doctorate in social and economic sciences
Free University of Berlin ( 11.79 ) Habilitation in sociology
Free University of Berlin ( since 08.86 ) Professor of sociology
(esp. development sociology and health systems research)

6. Language skills: Indication of competence on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 - very good; 5 - basic)

Language Reading Speaking Writing
English 1 1 1
Spanish 1 1 1
German mother tongue

7. Membership in professional bodies: German Economic Association (Verein für Socialpolitik). German University Professors Association.

8. Other skills: Computer literacy, long-lasting teaching experience, organization of many international conferences and of many multidisciplinary research studies, internationally

9. Present position: Freelancer, short-term expert

10. Years of professional experience: > 40

11. Key qualifications:

  • Three long-term (Chile, Philippines, Guatemala) and 140 short-term consultancies in 51 countries, thereof more than 100 in 36 developing and transition countries (Asia, Latin America, Africa, Near East): Argentina, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Papua N.G., Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Altogether 7004 days of consultancies and research abroad, i.e. 19 years.
  • Preparation, evaluation and management of health projects and programmes in Asia and Latin America (12 years) and research, consultancies and training on international development for the German Development Institute (7 years).
  • More than 30 health economics and health planning assignments by the European Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) in various European countries.
  • Long-lasting involvements in research / consultation on health systems, health insurance, health economics in Germany and Europe (13 years) with international research coordination, e.g.
    • COMAC-EC European study on economic aspects of AIDS and HIV infection
    • WHO-EURO study on cost-effectiveness of managing chronic psychotic patients
    • WHO-EURO study on unemployment, social vulnerability and health
  • Continuous participation and supervision of multinational tasks in health systems research, health economics, health and management information systems and health management.
  • Founder and director of World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Health Planning and Health Economics in Munich, 1984-1989.
  • Member of the European Advisory Committee for Health Research (EACHR) of the European Regional Office of World Health Organization, 1989-1992.
  • Member of the Concerted Action Committee (COMAC) on Health Systems Research of the European Community, 1985-1989.
  • Series of 20 short term consultancies for the Health Sector Modernisation Programme of the European Union in Syria, 2003-2011, in the area of health economics and health financing
  • HIV/AIDS programme planning in El Salvador 2010 and evaluation in Nicaragua 2011, El Salvador 2014, Guatemala 2014.
12. Professional experience
Date from – to Location Company Position Description
since 07/2005 Germany, Berlin Freelancer Adviser on international health and development International consultancies on public health and health economics, poverty and socioeconomic impacts
10/2001 – 06/2005 Germany, Eschborn and Berlin GTZ (German Technical Cooperation Agency) Adviser on international health (since 2002 part-time) Policy papers and consultancies on national and international policies, strategies, and projects in the areas of health, health economics, poverty
09/1997 – 09/2001 Guatemala, Ciudad de Guatemala GTZ & EPOS Principal program adviser Consultancies and management of a primary health care programme of the Ministry for Health
04/1989 – 08/1997 Philippines, Manila GTZ (German Technical Cooperation Agency) Principal program adviser and director of the German program support Acquisition and management of various Philippine-German cooperations in the health sector: health and management information systems, reproductive health and family planning, health promotion, health insurance, health economics. Continuous advice to and teaching at the College of Public Health of the University of the Philippines.
10/1978 – 03/1989 Germany, Munich GSF (National Research Centre for Environment and Health) Department director "Socioeconomic Methods” / Health Systems Analysis Director of a team of up to 20 socio-economic health professionals and Director of WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Planning and Health Economics
10/1976 – 09/1978 Germany, Cologne ZI (Institute of Insurance Affiliated Physicians) Director of socio-economic studies Director of various applied studies and investigations on health reforms in Germany
01/1970 – 09/1976 Germany, Berlin DIE (German Development Institute) Team member Consultancies, research and postgraduate training in development policies.
11/1969 – 01/1970 Germany, Berlin FU (Free University of Berlin) University Assistant Assistant for empirical research methods in sociology and social works
10/1968 – 11/1969 Chile,
FU (Free University of Berlin) Team member Socio-economic research in Chile.

13. International assignments (outside of Germany)

Continent and countries
Topics of assignments
Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Zimbabwe
Community health training, health systems research, physicians reintegration, primary health care, regional health programme, solar cooking
Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam
AIDS programme planning, early warning systems, health and nutrition, health care financing, health info system, health reforms, health sector programme, health sector reform, health sector review, health systems management, health systems networking, hospital assessment, human resources financing, impacts of telecommunications, informal savings, management information systems, management practices, population projects, poverty eradication, reproductive health, social health insurance, socioeconomic evaluation: energy, socioeconomic impact of steel plant, telecommunications investments, voluntary health insurance, social health protection
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, England, France, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Soviet Union, Spain, Switzerland, Yugoslavia
Equity in health, equity in health care, health and nutrition, health economics, health economics training, health legislation, health planning, health policy trends, health research, health science journal peer review, health systems research, human health resources, impacts of AIDS, intersectoral health economics, medical informatics, mental health, primary health care, unemployment and health, sociology
Latin America
Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela
HIV/AIDS plan, HIV/AIDS prevention, colonisation programme, decentralized health services, food and nutrition policies, food price policies, health care financing, health decentralization, health information system, health networking, health planning methodologies, health reform, hospital allocation, hospital planning, impacts of large dams, impacts of telecommunications, industrial master-plan, national food and nutrition, nutritional impact assessment, primary health care, regional socioeconomics, socioeconomic evaluations, socioeconomic investment impacts, telecommunications investments
Near East
Egypt, Jordan, Syria, U.A.E., Yemen
Health economics and financing, national health accounts, national health insurance systems, health planning, health systems research, hospital assessment, physicians reintegration
North America
Artificial intelligence in medicine, primary health care, telecommunications
Number of days served abroad
= > 19 years
14. Other relevant information (e.g. publications)

Over 270 publications including 19 monographs, 22 editions of books and more than 140 lectures in German, English and Spanish. Organization of over 40 larger-scale national and international workshops and conferences. Until 2002: regular teaching at the Free University of Berlin.

Recent publications available as PDF-files: Gesundheitssystemforschung (2012), Federalism and health in Nepal (2011), Health care in federal countries (2011), Financing social health protection in Nepal (2009), A knowledge collage on social health protection in Nepal (2009), Social protection and social health insurance in the Philippines (2009), Health care organization and financing in eleven federal countries (2009), National health accounts 2006 for Syria (also in Arabic) (2008), Towards a national health insurance system in Syria (2008), Nine case-studies on health benefit and insurance schemes, private health care providers and household health expenditure in Syria (also in Arabic) (2007), A roadmap towards a national health insurance system in Syria (also in Arabic) (2007), Gerechtigkeit und Gesundheit (2006), Gesundheit in globalisierter Entwicklung (2006), Health financing in Egypt (2006), Towards a national health insurance system in Yemen (also in Arabic) (2005), Emerging food-related health problems in globalization (2005), Gesundheit als Menschenrecht und Produktivkraft (2005), International health in a globalized development perspective (2004), Fair financing for health and health care (2004), Gesundheit, Entwicklung und Globalisierung (2003), Health, development and globalisation (2003), Salud, desarrollo y globalización (2003). ------ See list of publications for all (downloadable) articles.


Last update: 02.02.2020

Harald Schwefel
, son
Hans-Paul Schwefel
, brother
Free University of Berlin, until 2007