Decolonizing Global Health

Thursday, August 13, 2020


As countries throughout the world deal with the impact of COVID-19, the pandemic has exposed inequalities rooted in the imbalance of power between global health practitioners and those being served. Global health activists have been calling for the “decolonizing” of global health for years, but what will it really take to change how global health both designed and delivered? On Thursday, August 13 at 12:00pm ET, the Aspen Global Innovators Group were joined by Senior Aspen New Voices Fellows who are deeply involved in the global health conversation: Ngozi Erondu of Nigeria/USA, Chief Executive for Project Zambezi; Renzo Guinto of the Philippines, Chief Planetary Doctor of PH Lab; and Naomi Tulay-Solanke of Liberia, Founder and Executive Director of Community Healthcare. This conversation was moderated by Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, a leader in sexual and reproductive health and rights from South Africa and the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur for Health.

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Naomi Tulay-Solanke, Founder Executive Director of Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI)

Naomi Tulay-Solanke is a Liberian Feminist, a human right activist, a humanitarian and the Founder Executive Director of Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI), a local non-governmental organization that is providing healthcare and social services towomen and children in underserved and hard to reach communities in Liberia. Naomi has nurtured a career in female advocacy with a humble interest in working with underprivileged youths and slum dwellers through the provision of advocacy, awareness and basic health and social services especially to women and girls. She is passionate about the rolelocal actors play at the community and national levels. She holds a Master Degree in Public Health with emphasis in Community Health. As a Social Entrepreneur, Naomi launches the PAD4GIRLS project, a solution to menstrual health by training local women how to locally produce reusable sanitary pads making it more available and accessible to girls of school going age, which promote girls retention in school during their periodand help them live, learn and lead. Naomi is Dr. Fritz Raleigh, Humanitarian Award Recipient from Harvard University 2017. She is a 2018 ASPERN New Voice Fellow and as a Change Maker, Naomi is also an 2018 ASHOKA Fellow. Naomi dreamt of living in a world free of all forms of violence, gender equity and peaceful.

Renzo Guinto, Chief Planetary Doctor of PH Lab

One of the staunchest, most exciting, and most innovative voices for the new discipline of planetary health, Renzo Guinto, MD DrPHis Chief Planetary Doctor of PH Lab – a “glo-cal think-and-do tank” for advancing the health of both people and the planet. An Obama Foundation Asia-Pacific Leader and Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow, Renzo received his Doctor of Public Health degree from Harvard University; for his doctoral dissertation, he investigated the concept of “climate-smart” health systems in coastal municipalities in the Philippines. Renzo is member of the Editorial Advisory Board of The Lancet Planetary Health; adviser to the Forum on Climate Change and Health of the World Innovation Summit for Health; and Next Generation One Health Adviser of the Lancet One Health Commission hosted by the University of Oslo. He is also one of the most energetic and provocative thought leaders in the international discourse around advancing health security in Southeast Asia and decolonizing the field of global health. Renzo will soon be joining the faculty of the St. Luke’s College of Medicine in the Philippines to lead the design and launch of the school’s future initiatives in global health education, research, and innovation. He previously consulted for various organizations including the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium; World Bank; World Health Organization; Health Care Without Harm; International Organization for Migration; Philippine Department of Health, and University of the Philippines Manila. Renzo has traveled to and lectured in nearly 50 countries; published more than 100 articles in scientific journals, books, and popular media; and directed and produced short films that communicate the message of planetary healing to the world.

Dr. Ngozi Erondu

Ngozi Erondu PhD, MPH is the Chief Executive for Project Zambezi, a public-private partnership created to improve access to essential medicines throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Dr Erondu trained as an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and works as a Policy Advisor on global health governance and health systems. She currently consults as an Associate Fellow at the Chatham House and a Senior Public Health Advisor at Public Health England. Previously, Dr Erondu was an Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she taught disease outbreak response and epidemiology. She often provides technical support to the Africa Centres for Disease Control, the Nigeria CDC, the US CDC, the World Health Organisation and other governments across sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South East Asia. In this role, her support is aimed at strengthening institutional capacity to control infectious diseases such as Covid19, Ebola, meningitis, malaria, and polio. She is a Trustee at two UK Charities: Imperial Health Charity and Castlepines Medical Foundation and is a Fellow with the Aspen Institute and the John Hopkins University Emerging Leader in Biosecurity Programme.

Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, Nalane for Reproductive Justice

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, is the founder of Nalane for Reproductive Justice, a sexual and reproductive health and rights consultancy, a Broadcaster and the author of Dr T: A Guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure.  A commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality in South Africa and recently appointed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health.