‘How then can discussions in Global Health begin to embrace global diversity?’ asks an editorial in the latest issue of Health Policy and Planning. I would argue that forums like HIFA are one way to do this and have invited the authors to join us…

CITATION: Privilege and inclusivity in shaping Global Health agendas
Kabir Sheikh, Sara C Bennett, Fadi el Jardali and George Gotsadze.
Health Policy Plan. (2016)
doi: 10.1093/heapol/czw146
Corresponding author: kabir.sheikh@phfi.org

‘Northern voices dominate Global Health discussions… Only two out of the 16-member Board of Directors of the Consortium of Universities of Global Health come from the global South (CUGH 2016). No current or past president and only one current member of the World Health Summit’s scientific committee is from the global South (WHS 2016)…

‘Only 15% of the world’s population lives in high-income countries. Yet Global Health conferences continue to be dominated by invited Northern speakers and important committees on Global Health composed mainly of Northerners. The words of a few from the global North wield a disproportionate power that carries well beyond their own boundaries. How can it be acceptable that these groups continue to dominate in deciding what problems we think about in Global Health and how we approach them?

‘The lack of inclusivity in Global Health carries major risks for the field. The most excellent research study or Global Health program risks failure unless it is informed by and contextualized by the people close to where change is sought. The Ebola crisis starkly illustrated the follies of a top-down system of global response to local health problems, and the crying need to develop local institutions and systems, access the experiential and tacit knowledge of local and country actors and listen more closely to voices from the ground…

‘How then can discussions in Global Health begin to embrace global diversity?… We need to push towards real inclusion so that diverse voices are not just brought to the table but are empowered to shape the debate and set the agenda…

‘Inclusivity… must be written into the fabric of Global Health so that the field becomes a learning system and community, and ultimately more relevant, where it is needed most.’

Best wishes, Neil

Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge – Join HIFA: www.hifa.org