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Decolonising global health in 2021: a roadmap to move from rhetoric to reform
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  • Published on:
    'Decolonising’ the decolonising rhetoric
    • Alemayehu G Bedada, ASSITANT PROGRAMME DIRECTOR, Dept of Surgery, GENERAL SURGEON UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA, GABORONE, BOTSWANA
    • Other Contributors:
      • JOHN L. TARPLEY, HEAD OF DEPT OF SURGERY, GENERAL SURGEON
      • margaret J. tarpley, MEDICAL EDUCATOR, Dept. of Medical Education

    None of the authors of this decolonising roadmap listed an association with an academic institution in a low-and middle-income country (LMIC). They represented two London schools, two NGO organizations based in Geneva, and one from a former colony—Australia. No doubt these authors share a wealth of experience in low- and middle-income countries but the platforms they chose to speak from exemplify some of the best of high-income country Western (Northern?) educational and humanitarian outreach.

    The critical inequities they cite include:
    • Limiting participation of LMIC experts and community representatives
    • Arbitrarily choosing interventions or research topics with little coordination or engagement
    • Typically placing European or North American ‘experts’ in leadership positions with minimal experience working in the project setting,
    • Basing staff, offices and other resources in high-income countries
    • Funding application evaluation panels without or with limited representation from affected communities or stakeholders in which work will be done; grants awarded without due consideration for partnership ethics.

    A 15 April 2021 Nature Medicine letter reported, “Not one African institution was named in the press release” when a USD30 million grant for assisting African nations in “improved use of data for decision-making in malaria control and elimination” was announced. 1

    Perhaps this BMJ GH editorial is a roadmap for s...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.