Today, the field of “global health” strives to create equitable and just relationships between wealthy and impoverished regions, places and peoples. But it is still a field with markedly unequal power dynamics: racism, classism and many of the residual exploitations of a terrible colonial past. I fear that this point often goes missed or ignored, possibly because we are subconsciously or consciously engaged in a neocolonial narrative in which wealthy people are “saving” poor people even as they build their own careers.
It is not a relationship in which Western visitors and local people are collaborating equally — or perhaps even more appropriately, where local leaders take the dominant role.
I’m currently doing a diploma course in tropical medicine. There were lectures on AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis treatment and on noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension in Africa,