PROMOTING SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION IN THE CONTEXT OF COVID 19 CRISIS
Here is a blog written for us by Dr. Patrick Kadama; Director Health Policy and Strategy at ACHEST.
"building back better for more resilient health systems in Africa and the Global South".
The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic emerged in different ways across the globe. It directly caused devastation through unprecedented morbidity and mortality in the North but, its effects in the South, were deeply felt largely due, to weak health systems, gaps in social safety nets, scarce resources, and other factors of weak social and economic institutions. This divide distorted the global response to the pandemic. Major gaps exposed include the lack of international solidarity and sharing, including not only reluctance to share pathogen data and epidemiological information, but also resources, technology and tools, such as vaccines. This is contrary to the Nagoya Protocol for example. There has been disregard of the International Health Regulations and the WHO Code, resulting in recruitment of Health Professionals from the South to plug staffing gaps for managing the pandemic in the North. A North-South divergence in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis has emerged.
This has unmasked a fact that at present, “Global Health” practice, perpetuates the very power imbalances it claim to rectify, through colonial and extractive attitudes, and policies and practices that concentrate resources, expertise, data and branding within institutions of the Global North. These colonial attributes of global health, place Africa at a great disadvantage for gainful participation in the governance power dynamics which are shaping health policies and responses. This has brought to the fore, gaps and structural asymmetry underlying the power imbalances in the vertically structured global health practice between the North and the South. A contextualized consideration of the Africa region is required to meet challenges relating to this spill-over of a colonial supremacy mindset, of the vertical North to South Global Health construct.