To pay for my tuition fee for a Masters degree in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in 2004, my parents had to sell the apartment they were married in.
My father, deeply believing in education as the solution for everything, thought nothing of it, like many of the ‘Middle Eastern sixties generation’. I, on the other hand, took the money and took with it a burden of guilt and nostalgia. The apartment was empty as my family lived in another one at the time. Empty, that is, except of the memories and ghosts of our lives. …
… An equal, inclusive, just, and diverse global health architecture without a hint of supremacy is not global health as we know it today.
The authors argue in their article in the Lancet that supremacy in global health, one of the problems that still pervades every aspects of the discipline, is one that goes beyond the relationships of the North and the South, high and low income countries, race, and male domination into every aspect of it from locations, to knowledge production and consumptions, to the very nature of its architecture.
They go then to imagine what a global health…
Published 24 February 2021.
Fifa A Rahman, Felicita Hikuam, Nyasha Chingore-Munazvo & Gisa Dang write in Global Health Watch about race and coloniality and their effect on global health and the health outcomes of black and brown people.
“The white Global North perspective is inherent in global health. Yet only recently has the impact of race and whiteness on global health governance, hiring, and programming come into focus”
The author go on to give real-life examples of race and whiteness in global health and describe issues from organisations like MSF, Women Deliver, and the International Women’s Health Coalition.
In her Perspective in the Art of Medicine section in the Lancet, Lioba Hirsch — a research fellow in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) — reflects on the increased attention to decolonising global health in the past year.
She asks: “What is it that institutions of global health are seeking to decolonise?”, The answer is that we need to go beyond equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) efforts and into radical changes in the structures of power.
“We have to ask ourselves whether it is realistic to finish in working groups what began through insurgent action”
Mishal Khan, Tammam Aloudat, Seye Abimbola, Sarah Hawkes, and Emanuele Capo Bianco came together on this panel discussion in Geneva Health Forum 2020 to discuss the coloniality and decolonisation of global health.
The discussion, while concerned with the shape of a decolonised global health system, what needs to change, and what lessons can we learn from other movements; was focused on action and going forward. This panel is what inspired us to start this initiative and blog.
Action to Decolonise Global Health (ActDGH) is born out of the debates that are taking place in the global health circles and the need to translate them into moving forward to the future we want.
It is obvious now, and has been for a long time, that not all people are equal when it comes to their health and health care. Some of the different risks and outcomes are inevitable: people living in disease-endemic areas are more at risk of contracting that disease and older people are more at risk of some chronic non-communicable diseases. Those “biological” inequities are, however, not the major problem when looking at the picture of global health today.
MSF’s work covers a wide range of activities in many countries. In OCG, we go from treating malnutrition in Niger to doing surgeries in Yemen, from providing health care in refugee camps in Tanzania to chronic situations in DRC to refugee populations in Athens, and from treating tuberculosis in Swaziland to treating Kala Azar in Sudan. We provide medicine to neonates moments after they are born and to the elderly as they suffer non-communicable diseases.
Yet, I doubt that any of us feels that we do enough. This feeling is a result of the ever-increasing commotion that seems to engulf…
We know we are strong in what we do, but that should not mean that we can do it the same way forever when the world changes around us!
MSF is the leader in the medical humanitarian world for good reasons: we are close to our patients even when that is risky, and we have the consistency of using our voice to stand witness and speak out on behalf of the people we serve. These methods works and MSF treats millions of patients every year in places that are not accessed by other organisations.
Yet, we have to accept that…
One of the hardest things one can face is knowing that a job you are passionate about can be done better than you have the means to do it.
This is certainly more difficult when the job we are passionate about is providing medicine to people in crises. Medical humanitarian staff are limited by the context, resources, difficulty in access, and even hostility making them unable to provide the level of medical care they know is possible and desirable. This is one of the main reasons for moral distress in the work of MSF.
I have observed two ways humanitarian…