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We are a multidisciplinary network of academics, practitioners, and activists with a shared interest in unpacking and analysing decolonisation debates in global health research. Our overall interest is in identifying our responsibilities as individuals and institutions for positive transformation in the conduct of health research conducted in Africa. We hope to contribute to a research and action agenda that supports ethical practice in the region.

Dorcas Kamuya KEMRI Wellcome Trust, Kenya; Nadia Tagoe Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana; Seye Abimbola University of Sydney, Australia; Caesar Atuire University of Ghana, Ghana;  Olivia Rutazibwa London School of Economics and Political Science, UK; Kui Muraya KEMRI Wellcome Trust, Kenya; Lucy Gilson University of Cape Town, South Africa; Sassy Molyneux University of Oxford, UK; Ayesha Ragunathan Clinton Health Access Initiative, Nigeria

Core team members are all from Africa or have lived and worked in Africa with a shared interest in ethics theory and practice, power, and positionality in health research. We have experience and expertise in at least one of the following areas:  health policy and systems research (HPSR), gender and development studies, empirical ethics, African history and politics, philosophy, capacity strengthening and decolonisation theory.  

We are coordinating a series of exchanges and activities enriched by the involvement of a much wider network of health research stakeholders with the aim of:

  • Unpacking and reflecting upon the term ‘global health research’ using a decolonisation lens
  • Examining how tacit, or embedded forms of knowledge from Africa are drawn upon and feature in global health research, and shining a light on initiatives, methods and outputs that de-silence these forms of knowledge
  • Imagining what decolonised or Africa-centred research in global health might look like, and the potential roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders (research funders, academics, editors, reviewers, employers and trainers/educators) in contributing to positive transformation
  • Sharing our learning and advocating for change. 

Across these aims, we are incorporating a COVID-19 research lens, but only in recognition that COVID-19 may shine a light upon or amplify far longer and deeper policies and processes. We are focusing on sharing ideas and experiences across three inter-related fields across which there have been debates on (re/de)colonisation and Africa’s power and position in global health but inadequate opportunities for cross-learning about ethical dimensions and positive change: HPSR,  feminist research, and empirical ethics.  In each of these fields there are differences in views about the role of advocacy, and rich theories and experiences to draw upon, as well as tensions in relation to the decolonisation agenda.  

Above all we seek to amplify the work of others, so please let us know if you would like us to share your work and outputs through our networks.

Call for Funding: Promoting Decolonisation Using Innovative Knowledge Practices

Relevant outputs of network members

  1. Atuire, C. A. & Bull, S. (2022). COVID-19 heightens the imperative to decolonize global health research. Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric. (In print, ISSNN: 1813853-56-8648242).
  2. Atuire, C.A. (2022). African perspectives of moral status: a framework for evaluating global bioethical issues. Med Humanities, medhum-2021-012229.
  3. Jecker, N., & Atuire, C. (2022). Don’t stop now: Continuing global engagement on pandemic policy.
  4. Jecker, N., & Atuire, C. (2022). Global Sharing of COVID-19 Therapies During A ‘New Normal.’ Bioethics.
  5. Khan, T., Abimbola, S., Kyobutungi, C., & Pai, M. (2022). How we classify countries and people—and why it matters. BMJ Global Health, 7(6), e009704.
  6. Ngwenya, N., Ilo Van Nuil, J., Nyirenda, D., Chambers, M., Cheah, P., Seeley, J., Chi, P., Mafuleka, L., Nkosi, B., Kamuya, D., Davies, A., Schneiders, M., Mumba, N., Dlamini, S., Desmond, N., Marsh, V., Rippon, D., Parker, M., Molyneux, S. (2022) A network of empirical ethics teams embedded in research programmes across multiple sites: opportunities and challenges in contributing to COVID-19 research and responses. Wellcome Open Research, 7. p. 48. ISSN 2398-502X
  7. Vincent R, Adhikari B, Duddy C, Richardson E, Wong G, Lavery J, Molyneux S, The REAL team: M Chambers, P Yeong Cheah, A Davies, K Gooding, D Kamuya, V Marsh, N Mumba, D Nyirenda, and P Tindana. (2022) ‘Working relationships’ across difference - a realist review of community engagement with malaria research [version 1; peer review: 1 approved]. Wellcome Open Res, 7:13
  8. Abimbola S, Asthana S, Montenegro C, Guinto RR, Jumbam DT, Louskieter L, et al. (2021) Addressing power asymmetries in global health: Imperatives in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS Med 18(4): e1003604.
  9. Atuire, C.A., and Rutazibwa, O. U. (2021). An African Reading of the Covid-19 pandemic and the stakes of decolonization. In U. K. Karunakara, P. Chatterjee, & A. Miller (Eds.), Human and Social Costs of Covid Response. Global Health Justice Partnership: Yale University, New Haven. 
  10. Gilson, L., Barasa, E., Brady, L., Kagwanja, N., Nxumalo, N., Nzinga, J., Molyneux, S. and Tsofa, B. (2021). Collective sensemaking for action: researchers and decision makers working collaboratively to strengthen health systems. BMJ, 372
  11. Jecker, N. S., & Atuire, C. A. (2021). What’s yours is ours: waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. BMJ Medical Ethics.
  12. Abimbola, S., & Pai, M. (2020). Will global health survive its decolonisation?. Lancet (London, England), 396(10263), 1627-1628. PMID: 33220735
  13. Atuire, Caesar A., Kong, C., & Dunn, M. (2020). Articulating the sources for an African normative framework of healthcare: Ghana as a case study. Developing World Bioethics, 20(4), 216–227.
  14. Devakumar, D., Selvarajah, S., Shannon, G., Muraya, K., Lasoye, S., Corona, S., Paradies, Y., Abubakar, I., & Achiume, E. T. (2020). Racism, the public health crisis we can no longer ignore. Lancet (London, England), 395(10242), e112–e113.
  15. Kelley, M., Ferrand, R. A., Muraya, K., Chigudu, S., Molyneux, S., Pai, M., & Barasa, E. (2020). An appeal for practical social justice in the COVID-19 global response in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet Global Health, 8(7), e888-e889.
  16. Gilson, L., Marchal, B., Ayepong, I., Barasa, E., Dossou, J.P., George, A., Guinaran, R., Maceira, D., Molyneux, S., Prashanth, N.S. and Schneider, H. (2020). What role can health policy and systems research play in supporting responses to COVID-19 that strengthen socially just health systems? Health policy and planning, 35(9), 1231-1236.
  17. Pratt, B., Wild, V., Barasa, E., Kamuya, D., Gilson, L., Hendl, T., & Molyneux, S. (2020). Justice: a key consideration in health policy and systems research ethics. BMJ Global Health, 5(4), e001942.

Dialogues and Engagement Activities

Members of the network have participated in the following:

  1. Dissecting the foreign gaze in global health with Seye Abimbola’, a podcast by Global Health Unfiltered
  2. Opportunities and challenges in decolonising collaborative research’ dialogue hosted by Department of History, University of York
  3. ‘Strengthening Ethical Practice at the Frontline of Global Health Research:  Reflections on Opportunities and Challenges’ webinar hosted by the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
  4. ‘Conversations for Change’ hosted by the Decolonizing Global Health Working Group at the Institute for Global Health Sciences, University of California San Francisco
    1. Conversation with Seye Abimbola
    2. Conversation with Kui Muraya
  5. Three (3) decolonisation dialogues on ‘Shifting Power in Global Health’ hosted by Development Reimagined
  6. Bi-monthly core member exchanges