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Senior Adviser – Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL), Abt Britain

Dr. Fiona Mactaggart is a multi-disciplinary technical advisor with more than 10 years of experience in monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL); infectious disease control; and public health. As a co-lead of Abt's MERL portfolio, she draws on complexity theory and scientific methods to help clients test what works, discover why it works, and provide timely evidence-based recommendations to inform important decisions about policy and practice. Mactaggart contributes to business development, programme delivery, and thought leadership. She works in five key areas: monitoring (e.g., design of digital tools and visualisation platforms) research (e.g., cross-sectional survey design), evaluation methodologies (e.g., contribution analysis), learning (e.g., portfolio level evidence-informed strategic decision making), and cross-cutting MERL capabilities (e.g., adaptive management and GEDSI). Mactaggart has worked extensively in the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Mactaggart works primarily on health, climate, and governance programmes, in facilitation, quality assurance, and advisory roles. She advises on the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office-funded Portfolio Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning platform in Nepal and several M&E-focused projects that respond to climate adaptation and mitigation goals. In Nepal, she advised the Department for International Development on an evaluation methodology to assess their 16-year health investment in Nepal. In Brazil, Mactaggart provided training on core M&E concepts to Ministry of Health professionals, contributing towards strengthening the use of data within the Ministry. She supports project teams’ efforts to develop and test theories of change and design MEL systems in complex settings. Mactaggart contributes her research expertise to programme teams during the design, implementation, and analysis phase and during preparation of peer-reviewed journal articles.

Before assuming her current role in January 2019, she was the monitoring and evaluation manager of Abt’s primary healthcare programmes in Papua New Guinea. She oversaw the collection, analysis, and dissemination of health information to the community, clients, and government. She designed and led the mid and endline evaluation for the Western Province Health System Strengthening programme. The evaluation demonstrated that the Abt clinical team had seen over 7,000 antenatal care patients and provided over 300,000 on-the-job training sessions with health workers over the 10-year life of the programme. The team improved access to and quality of basic health services for remote and vulnerable communities in the Western Province of PNG.

Before coming to Abt, she served as senior project coordinator for the Improving Regional Health project at Wesley Medical Research. She also served as a research consultant for Options Consultancy Services Ltd. in London, focusing on public health projects in low- and middle- income countries. She also provided technical support on several infectious disease projects for the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland. Her peer-reviewed publications have been cited over 40 times.


  • Monitoring
  • Evaluation
  • Research
  • Learning
  • Public health
  • Infectious diseases

Key Projects:

  • Monitoring, Evaluation, Operational Research programme in Nepal
  • Better Health programme in Brazil
  • Portfolio Monitoring Evaluation and Learning platform in Nepal
  • Good Governance Fund in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Armenia

Selected Publications:

  • Field E., Vila M., Runk L., Mactaggart F., Rosewell A., Nathan S. ‘Lessons for health program monitoring and evaluation in a low resource setting’. Rural and Remote Health. 2018 
  • Mactaggart F., McDermott L., Tynan A., and Gericke C. ‘Exploring the determinants of health and wellbeing in communities living in proximity to coal seam gas developments in regional Queensland.’ BMC Public Health. 18:51 2017
  • Mactaggart F., McDermott L., Tynan A., and Gericke C. ‘A systematic review of the health and wellbeing outcomes in mining communities of high income countries’. The Australian Journal of Rural Health 24: 4 p230-237 2016
  • Mactaggart F, Tynan A, McDermott L, Whittaker, M. ‘Exploring the health and wellbeing outcome associated with mining activity in low and middle income countries’ Global Public Health 17: 1-15 2016
Dr. Fiona Mactaggart