Table 1

Snapshot of pragmatic approaches to decolonising global health

Common manifestations of colonialityWays to decolonise
Global and multinational organisations
Your decisions about who gets hired or promoted discriminate against people whose credentials or expertise are obtained in Africa.Use blind or anonymous recruitment platforms (such as beapplied.com) and processes. Train your hiring managers to challenge their implicit biases constantly and consciously. Be aware that traditional recruitment considerations such as salary history and letters of recommendation often reflect and perpetuate biases against Africans and UIGH persons. Determine your job evaluation criteria thoughtfully and deploy methods such as holistic review methods in shortlisting candidates.
Individual practitioners
You consciously or subconsciously believe in the unidirectional flow of expertise from HIC to African and UIGH practitioners or organisations.Reject ‘saviourism’ in all its manifestations. For example, refuse to be part of collaborations that do not give equal opportunity and reward to the contributions of your African and UIGH counterparts.
Grant-making organisations and funding agencies
Your funding criteria explicitly or implicitly require African and UIGH researchers to collaborate with HIC researchers, even if they do not need or want to.Your funding opportunities should avoid language that overtly or covertly coerces African and UIGH practitioners into collaborations with HIC counterparts. Emphasise that African and UIGH practitioners should enter such collaborations entirely on their own and without fear that they will be penalised or overlooked for not doing so. If your institution is required by its mandate to include HIC practitioners, then you must take additional steps to ensure collaborations that are authentic and equitable. For example, scrutinise how budgets and authorships are distributed between the HIC and African or UIGH applicants.
Academic and training institutions
Africans are under-represented among your faculty, staff and students. In fact, it is rare for an African or UIGH person to hold tenure or other positions of significance at your institution.Recognise that there is evidence that diverse teams advance scholarly environments. Set targets and take deliberate steps to diversify your institution or group. Train your selection committees in best practices for improving diversity such as holistic review methods.
Scientific journals and publishers
You prefer peer reviewers from HIC and allow them to provide aggressive and disparaging feedback to submissions from African and UIGH practitioners.Editors must monitor and moderate feedback provided by reviewers particularly to African and UIGH authors. Editors encountering biased or disrespectful reviews should over-rule them and assign alternate reviewers to the submission.
  • Reproduced with permission from: Global Health Decolonisation Movement in Africa. Pragmatic Approaches to Decolonising Global Health in Africa: A guide for global health practitioners and organisations in High-Income Countries. Feb 2021. https://ghdmafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/GHDM_brochure_web.pdf (accessed 1 Jun 2021)

  • HIC, High Income Country; UIGH, under-represented in global health.