African countries have always been the site of medical and health innovations – be it in terms of vernacular bodies of knowledge on health and healing, novel health policies and practices, clinical research and trials, innovative health insurance schemes, or epidemics control measures, among many others. However, scholarly and policy discourse on innovation and the broader theme of global health still tends to see lower-income countries as adapting new developments from the West, often with some delay.
The interdisciplinary Sinergia project ‘African Contributions to Global Health’, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), has been challenging these unidirectional models and their underlying assumptions. Based at three different Swiss research institutions, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and the University of Basel, the members of our consortium have explored questions of health-related knowledge circulation – and non-circulation – from various fields of public health, urban planning, and history. We examine bodies of knowledge, practices and applications that were designed for improving healthcare in Africa but have become relevant to questions of health globally or have the potential to do so. At the same time, we highlight that ‘learning from the South’ must mean more than transplanting quick and cheap technological fixes to serve societies in the global North.
With this concluding conference, the project seeks to debate and refine its research results, and to stimulate and expand ongoing discussions on Africa’s role in the production of health-related knowledge, public health policy, and medical innovation. We invite contributions by researchers from various disciplines and career stages, as well as by health professionals and policy experts.
The conference will commence on the morning of 12 September 2023 at the headquarters of the CSRS in Abidjan. During the two and a half conference days (until the afternoon of 14 September), the contributors will present and discuss their findings with the audience in thematically organised, interdisciplinary panels. The conference will be held in English. A limited number of travel grants are available.
To propose a paper, please submit an abstract (maximum 500 words) to Kai Herzog (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 31 March 2023. We will get back to you with our decision by 21 April.
For more information on the project, its themes, and partners, please consult our website www.globalhealthafrica.ch. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
Julia Tischler (Project PI) and Kai Herzog (scientific coordinator)
University of Basel
See Danelle van Zyl-Hermann, Tanja Hammel, Christian Burri, Jérôme Chenal, Günther Fink, Akuto Akpedze Konou, Eric Nébié, Doris Osei Afriyie, Vitor Pessoa Colombo, Jürg Utzinger & Julia Tischler (2022): Examining African contributions to global health: Reflections on knowledge circulation and innovation, Global Public Health, DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2022.2118343 for an overview of the project.