Decolonize Global Health Week

A child of colonialism, global health began with the export of Western concepts of health and medical care—and the protection of colonizers from local diseases. In this GHN series, journalist Joanne Silberner speaks with committed insurgents who are overturning those lingering perspectives to decolonize global health.

In 4 Ways to Decolonize Global Health, Silberner’s piece in our sister publication, Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health magazine, experts zero in on the essence of the problem in countries including Peru—where people from richer countries descend, “do research, soak up resources and credit, and leave little behind—not even the new drugs that were initially tested there,” according to Patricia Garcia, Peru’s former minister of health and former dean of public health at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima.

In a companion series of exclusive Q&As for Global Health NOW, Silberner interviews Garcia and other global health experts who explore how tactics like challenging the status quo, building up local power, and soul-searching can help flip the script. Check back each day this week for a new Q&A.

Decolonizing Global Health: Respect Your Partners – April 18, 2022
  • Patricia Garcia describes colonization’s impact on middle-income countries like Peru, and offers tips to visiting researchers—such as: “Don't expect to have a babysitter” and “Don't take all the credit.”
Decolonizing Global Health: Change the Curriculum April 19, 2022
  • Anna Kalbarczyk discusses the necessity to reevaluate and redesign global health programs—which often involve colonialist practices—so students from wealthy countries aren’t the only beneficiaries.
Decolonizing Global Health: Reform Your NGO  April 20, 2022
  • Jeff Whisenant and Natalie Meyers share how ReSurge International is flipping its focus from meeting the training needs of US surgical residents to helping in-country surgeons and health workers serve their patients, and what it takes to keep the effort going.

Decolonizing Global Health: Know Your Organizational Weaknesses – April 21, 2022
  • Carel IJsselmuiden and James Lavery speak to the need for organizations to reflect and take stock of any shortcomings that could perpetuate the dominance of high-income countries—and explain how their Research Fairness Initiative can be a pathway to self-improvement.


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