on Wednesday, 30 August 2023.

Dear Colleagues,

Here is a discussion for our consideration and action at this time.

As the world prepares for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York in September 2023, it is important for us to prepare ourselves ideologically for this event. The theme for the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC is Universal Health Coverage: expanding our ambition for health and well-being in a post-COVID world.
We need to remind ourselves of the basics; namely, that health of the people is a precondition for productive lives. The right to life is also a right to health and a right to responsive health systems. The quality of life varies between regions and within countries; where in some cases there is unacceptable poverty, and a lack of social justice and equity. This is in a world that is connected, interdependent, and globalized with knowledge and resources to achieve UHC but sadly lacks the will and organizational capacity needed to expand and achieve our ambition enshrined in the SDGs. Our response to the existential threat of Climate change is also constrained by our inability to mobilize for collective action.

There are admirable achievements such as the negotiation of the SDGs, rolling out Global Health Initiatives such as GAVI and the Global Fund for AIDs, TB, and Malaria, and UN Agencies like WHO, and UNICEF. The ability of these agencies to achieve UHC that leaves no one behind cannot be realized until the people themselves are reached and engaged through PHC is owned and driven by the communities themselves and where the people participate as a duty and a right using the currently available resources.


on Friday, 02 June 2023.

Dear Colleagues,

Here is our topic for this month.

I participated at the 5th Global Forum on Human Resources for Health (HRH) convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, from 3rd to 5th April 2023. This is the top global HRH event that takes place every two to three years; hosted by different countries around the world. At this Geneva meeting, the African Regional Office of WHO (WHO Afro) presented a draft of the African Health Workforce Investment Charter that is being developed by that office. The following day, The African Centers for Disease Control (Africa CDC) presented another draft of the African Health Workforce Strategy being developed by the Africa CDC. Upon making inquiries, it became evident that these two African Health institutions' efforts to develop Health Workforce plans for Africa are in parallel and not coordinated. This is the reason I am moved to write about the urgent need for coordination and harmony between the WHO Afro and the Africa CDC. There are likely to be other areas of work where parallel, uncoordinated, and conflicted pieces of work in Africa are being undertaken by these two institutions that will result in duplication of efforts, undesirable competition, and create more problems than solutions to Africa’s health agenda.

According to the websites of the two organizations, “Africa CDC is a continental autonomous health agency of the African Union established to support public health initiatives of Member States and strengthen the capacity of their public health institutions to detect, prevent, control and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats. Africa CDC supports African Union Member States in providing coordinated and integrated solutions to the inadequacies in their public health infrastructure, human resource capacity, disease surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, and preparedness and response to health emergencies and disasters. It was established in January 2016 by the 26th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government and officially launched in January 2017. The institution serves as a platform for Member States to share and exchange knowledge and lessons from public health interventions”.

Realizing the Social Mission of Universities and training institutions

on Tuesday, 28 February 2023.

Dear Colleagues,

There are many stories of poorly planned health workforce programs in our countries. There are also many meeting taking place on health professionals education and training. at the same time, there are strikes and reported cases of suicide resulting from failure to get employed after graduation and completion of internship.

Here below are my thoughts on long term solutions. Looking forward to seeing your responses.

There is a lot of renewed activity in Africa and globally on the subject of health professionals’ education and training. A meeting took place at the beginning of February, 2023, in Kigali, Rwanda, of the Governing Council of the African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth). In November, 2022, two meetings took place; in Miami, USA and in Accra Ghana on this topic. In May 2022, there was a Forum in Canada; McGill University School of Population and Global Health on “Nurturing Leadership for Health: are Universities Stepping Up?” Another meeting took place last week of February, 2023 in Pretoria, South Africa. So, what is going on? Are we making any progress? Are health professional training institutions contributing to better health globally, regionally and nationally? Are they just about themselves?

The Lancet Commission on the Education of Health Professionals for the 21st Century issued its report ten years ago recommending a new generation of reforms in health professionals’ education. Universities, especially university leaders, are called upon to become the change agents among the people that they serve. These leaders should demonstrate social accountability and teach their students to be societal change agents by exemplary lives; engaging with their ministers of health, cultural, religious and civil society leaders. The purpose of this engagement is to ensure that better population health is visible in practice as a result of teaching and research. Failure to achieve this qualifies universities to be described as ivory towers that are disconnected from their communities.

University leadership, including all Faculty should engage proactively with politicians and the public to ensure that knowledge, research and training are aligned with efforts to improve the performance of health systems and advocate and guide investments in health. This requires reviewing incentives for promotion of university lecturers that are currently skewed towards research and publications with insufficient emphasis on teaching and service. When students see this as a dominant role model, they also aspire to become researchers resulting in a gap in service and teaching.


on Tuesday, 15 November 2022.

Dear Colleagues,

The concept and discussion on OUR post-colonial relations are important for population health outcomes and deserve our attention. Here are my thoughts. What are yours?

During the AFREhealth conference held in Harare, Zimbabwe last August 2022 there were some presentations on the topic of decolonization of global health which were followed by vigorous discussions. I have since taken more interest in this subject and have been surprised to find that the subject of globalization is huge with many websites addressing diverse aspects of the subject including a group focusing on decolonizing contraception!
There are a number of highly regarded schools of public health and other institutions that are introducing new programs for students under Schools of Decolonizing Global Health and awarding Masters of Public Health degrees in Decolonizing Global Health.

So, what is decolonization with respect to global health? Decolonization of global health is variously defined as a movement that fights against entrenched systems of dominance and power imbalance in the work to improve the health of populations. This power imbalance may take place between countries, and institutions, in commerce and trade in health commodities and in the policy dialogue arena. Generally, the imbalance and inequity are between previously colonized regions on the one hand and the successors of the colonizer countries and regions on the other hand. It is between the governments and institutions and individuals in the global north and the global south or the so-called rich and poor countries. At the individual level, relics of our colonial history have left behind overt and covert ingrained perceptions and attitudes of superiority that result in behavior that patronizes colleagues and institutions based on which region we originate from. The net result is that a small outsider elite gets to determine what health interventions get implemented in what context, what resources go to whom, and, in short, who lives and who dies.


on Wednesday, 24 August 2022.

Dear Colleagues,

Awareness among ordinary people on the threat of climate change is low and I am concerned.

The impact of Climate change in the daily lives of the people round the world has been very visible in the news. We have seen graphic pictures of starving children, and dying animals from drought and food shortage. We have seen wild fires destroy homes and disrupt livelihoods and we have seen pictures of floods destroying homes and disrupting livelihoods of communities and there are reports of rising sea levels threatening to wipe out small island nations.

There are epidemics of malaria and other diseases attributed to climate change and pandemics such as Covid-19 are expected to increase in frequency as a consequence of climate change. Yes, we have been informed about how the Antarctic ice sheet is melting and separating.

At personal level, I have a farm where I grow entirely rain-fed crops. The rains have frequently failed in recent years resulting in food crop failure and I have lost money in the process. Worse still, the local the population are chronically short of food.

My major concern is that while Climate change is the single biggest threat facing humanity, I do not see a matching effort to inform and educate African populations actively about this very serious threat to them. The African people know that the rains are irregular but they do not know why and how to respond.