Varunika Ruwanpura

PhD Candidate


Master of Philosophy, The University of Adelaide, 2019; Master of Arts in Professional Communication (Journalism major), Deakin University, 2006; Diploma in Journalism, Wigan & Leigh College, United Kingdom, 2003

Research Topic:

Introducing radical cure for P. vivax malaria: stakeholder networks, policy processes and contextual factors influencing policy change in three countries


Darwin - Royal Darwin Hospital campus


Varunika Ruwanpura is a journalist, author and social sciences researcher. She is currently doing her PhD in Public Health at the Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Australia. Her research focuses on developing improved policy interventions for P. vivax malaria to assist affected countries in achieving their malaria elimination goals. She previously worked as a journalism and media studies tutor for the University of South Australia and the University of Adelaide. Her master’s thesis, published in 2019, focused on exploring four Australian journalists’ nonfiction writing using a narrative analysis approach: Adelaide Research & Scholarship: Crafting true stories: an interpretation of four Australian journalists’ nonfiction writing practices.

Research project:

Varunika's PhD project explores the global, regional and national stakeholder networks involved in P. vivax policymaking; global and national malaria policy processes and contextual factors that influence national malaria policymaking. This is to understand and interpret how to better introduce new treatments and tools for the radical cure of P. vivax malaria in select endemic countries.

  1. Ruwanpura, V., Neukom, J., Grietens, K.P. et al. Opening the policy blackbox: unravelling the process for changing national diagnostic and treatment guidelines for vivax malaria in seven countries. Malar J 20, 428 (2021).
  2. Ruwanpura, V. S. H., Nowak, S., Gerth-Guyette, E., Theodora, M., Dysoley, L., Haile, M., Peeters Grietens, K., Price, R. N., Lynch, C. A., & Thriemer, K. (2021). Further evidence needed to change policy for the safe and effective radical cure of vivax malaria: Insights from the 2019 annual APMEN Vivax Working Group meeting. Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, 1-35.
  3. Ruwanpura, V. (2019). Stark Observations on Life inside Australia's Manus Detention Centre [Book Review]. Literary Journalism Studies, 11(2), 189–190.
  4. Ruwanpura, V. (2017). Valuable insights on ethical dilemmas [Book Review]. Australian Journalism Review, 39(1), 135–136.
  1. ABC Radio National | When malaria policy gets personal

    ABC Radio National | When malaria policy gets personal


    In this ABC Radio National Health Report episode, PhD Candidate from Menzies School of Health Research, Varunika Ruwanpura shares her personal story with malaria, and talks about the impact health policy has in tackling this mosquito-borne illness.