Decolonising Global Health
Play • 57 min

Takeaways from today's episode: 

  • Decolonising global health is an ongoing movement allowing people (and researchers) to provide a local context in the conversations surrounding health. 
  • Though many definitions exist, it is based on the undoing of the colonial legacy that surrounds countries in the global south.
  • Local health is global health - a local context is required to make it global. 
  • It is important to reflect on issues on decolonising global health to avoid neo-colonization and include diverse voices from the global south to spearhead the movement.
  • It is not just about putting a researcher from the global south on the paper to get round publication guidelines and funders. It’s not about a tick-box exercise. 
  • The conversation needs to address power imbalances in funding, teaching or accessibility to learning resources. Investment in these areas can start to close the gaps.
  • Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, written articles expected the global south to fail. But if we had diverse voices published and circulated en masse, the world would have known that the global south has always dealt with infectious outbreaks and the global north could have learnt some lessons from countries in the global south.



How NOT to write about Africa, by Desmond Jumbam:

‘The foreign Gaze’ by Seye Abimbola, the article referenced by Salma in the panel:

The word global heath and what we need to think about when talking about decolonising it:

COVID-19 and inequities surrounding the term global health:

What the world can learn from Africa’s response to COVID-19:

Decolonizing COVID-19:

Read Renzo’s blog on global health:

Salma’s article on what is global health:

Silenced voices in global health:

The Global Health Security Index: what value does it add?:

Africa convening - Health systems global:


Guest information

Renzo Guinto, MD DrPH is Associate Professor and Inaugural Director of the Global Health Program of the St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine in the Philippines. An Obama Foundation Asia-Pacific Leader, Renzo is also the Chief Planetary Doctor of PH Lab – a “glo-cal think-and-do tank” for advancing the health of both people and the planet – and member of the Lancet–Chatham House Commission on Improving Population Health post COVID-19. Twitter: @RenzoGuinto

Desmond Jumbam is a Cameroonian health policy consultant based in Accra, Ghana. Currently, Desmond works with Operation Smile, a cleft NGO operating in over 30 countries, advising and leading the organization on health systems strengthening programs as well as health policy and advocacy engagements. He also leads research projects specifically focused on health financing for surgical care in low and middle-income countries. Prior to joining Operation Smile, Desmond was a health policy analyst with the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard Medical School where he led and advised on the development of National Surgical Obstetric, Obstetric and Anesthesia Plans in several countries including Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Pakistan. Desmond holds a Master of Science in Global Health from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences from Taylor University in the United States. Twitter: @desmondtanko

Salma M Abdalla is a physician by training and currently a research fellow at Boston University School of Public Health. She is the lead Project Director of the Rockefeller-Boston University 3-D Commission on Determinants of health, Data science, and Decision making. Dr Abdalla’s research focuses on how inequalities and power dynamics shape the health of populations and applying a systems thinking approach to the social, political, and commercial determinants of health. She is also interested in studying the effects of mass trauma on the mental health of populations. Twitter: @SalmaMHAbdalla


Contact us


Twitter: @mentor_podcast 


Editing by Mariana Vaz,

Research: Isabela Malta, Alice Matimba, Emmanuela Oppong, Christine Boinett

Producers: Isabela Malta (Producer), Alice Matimba (Senior Producer), Christine Boinett (Creator and Executive producer) and Emmanuela Oppong (Producer).

Host: Alice Matimba and Christine Boinett

Media and Marketing: Catherine Holmes




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