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Global Health Research Equity

, by DCEG Staff

Much research in DCEG focuses on global health. While global health aims to improve health worldwide, Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), often formerly colonized countries, are calling for equity and justice in global health research and practice. The history of global health research, having evolved from colonial and tropical medicine,1 is rife with inequities due to unequal distribution of power.2 Achieving equity requires commitment from High-Income Countries (HICs), often former colonizers, to undo persistent colonial practices and attitudes, thereby transforming global health research. Actions the research community can take to achieve global health equity (removing all forms of classism, racism, sexism)3 include:

  1. Learning about and acknowledging the role of racism, colonialism, and sexism on the high disease burden in LMICs and reliance of LMICs on research funding and resources monopolized by HICs.
  2. Ensuring collaboration with local researchers, communities, and governments in all stages of project design, development, funding and implementation decisions.
  3. Ensuring researchers from LMICs have equitable recognition for their work and ideas, including major authorship positions (such as first and/or last).4

Addressing colonial legacies in global health is a critical step towards improving health and achieving equity worldwide.3

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Selected References

  1. Koplan JP, Bond TC, Merson MH, et al. Towards a common definition of global health. Lancet 2009 Jun 6; doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(09)60332-9.
  2. 5050 Global Health. Power, privilege and priorities. Global Health 50/50 Report 2020.
  3. Abimbola S, Pai M. Will global health survive its decolonisation? Lancet 2020 Nov 21; doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(20)32417-x.
  4. Erondu NA, Aniebo I, Kyobutungi C, et al. Open letter to international funders of science and development in Africa. Nature Medicine 2021 May 27; doi:10.1038/s41591-021-01307-8.

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