African Health History
Promoting research on the history of health in Africa
A new knowledge network to promote research on the history of health in Africa and to broker support for African historians and health workers to participate in the global dialogue on the history of health is being proposed under the Global Health Histories initiative.
This was one of the main outcomes of a unique meeting organized by WHO as part of the initiative, in Nairobi, Kenya, from 6 - 8 February 2007. The meeting was supported by WHO’s Department of Knowledge Management & Sharing, and by the United Nations Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases.
About 30 eminent African health historians, scholars and public health leaders and others discussed some of the key health-related events in African countries since the WHO Regional Office for Africa was created in 1951. Subjects covered included decolonization and the legacy of colonialism for Africa’s health; health in Africa during the Cold War, including primary health care; HIV/AIDS; and the challenges for Africa today resulting from globalization. Some of the presentations at the meeting can be seen on this website under (Health history in Africa).
The meeting decided to recommend that a formal knowledge network should be created under the auspices of AFRO to foster an understanding of the historical forces shaping the present and future of health status, health systems and health services in Africa.
Specific objectives of the network are to
- Establish and maintain a community of institutions and individuals interested in carrying out research in the history of health in Africa;
- Convene, where and when appropriate, forums for exchange of results and information;
- Promote research on the history of health in Africa;
- Foster the translation of research results into briefs and syntheses for use in health policy formulation and implementation;
- Broker support for African historians and health workers to participate in the global dialogue on the history of health.
All the institutions and individuals who participated in the Nairobi meeting will be invited to join the network; as will others, inside and outside Africa who are interested in participating. A programme of work will be drawn up for the network, covering the first two years of operation of the network, including a follow up meeting to the Nairobi conference.
Agenda and some presentations from the Nairobi meeting (6 - 8 February 2007)
How the great powers shaped the world after WWII (by James Gillespie)
The legacies of colonialism in African medicine (By Seganne and Nakanyike Musisi)
The Christian Medical Commission and other Faith-based efforts (by Dan Kaseje)
The waves of Primary Health Care (by Marcos Cueto)
Health Research in Africa: a historical perspective (by Adetokunbo Lucas)
The HIV war - how it was fought in Africa (by Peter N'Dumbe)
What can we learn from history? (by Joseph Kasonde)