This convening will be the first of many Africa centred, decolonial conversations on the field of HPSR. A number of post-convening activities are planned for the coming months including:
- Further webinars and cross continent conversations on tools to decolonise the HPSR field.
- Representation of the views and thought leadership by the convening organisers at the HSG Global conference to be held in November 2020.
- Taking forward the collective knowledge and experience to influence HSG 2020 and future HPSR symposia.
This event is co-sponsored by Health Systems Global (HSG), Atlantic Institute, Tekano and the University of Witwatersrand.
Purpose of Convening
Globally, decoloniality requires researchers and practitioners located in Africa to build and develop collective capacities and knowledge archives that centres Africa and African people. The convening foregrounds Africans as experts, and provides us with an opportunity to highlight our own solutions to the challenges faced on the African continent. This convening seeks to do that in the area of African Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) by making space for scholars and practitioners to build collective capacity to engage in critical decolonial scholarship with the aim of envisioning socially just health systems on the continent.
While the importance of decolonial perspectives linked to HPSR and global health has emerged in conversations in these fields, much of these discussions and ideas have been concentrated in well-resourced Global North institutions. To counter this, this convening is provided as a space for an African conversation that will begin to build solidarity across countries, regions and contexts, breaking down colonially-imposed divides to reorient African knowledge, realities and people, lifting these up as valuable and legitimate knowledge bearers able to shape the field on the continent and beyond. This includes making space for difficult conversations about power and hegemonic epistemologies and the impacts of these to the profession and to personhood. As African HPSR and decolonial scholars in particular, this convening will explore the possibilities of a knowledge paradigm that frames decolonial research in HPSR, drawing explicitly on decolonial theories and approaches which includes anti-racist, critical race, black consciousness, queer and African feminists’ perspectives.
The main aims of this convening are:
- Be a starting point for a political project/process amongst HPSR scholars located in Africa to engage in catalytic, yet difficult conversations and deliberations for developing language, theories, tools, strategies, approaches, methodologies and research priorities for a decolonial HPSR paradigm/orientation.
- Seek strategies for dismantling processes and structures that produce and sustain inequities and injustices in health policies and systems.
- Through a process of politicising and historicizing the HPSR space, critically reflect on whether we are doing work that transforms unjust political, economic and social systems & structural arrangements.
The approach of the conference
To achieve these aims, we will draw together decolonial theoretical insights and relate these to HPSR theories and praxis in order to understand shifts in HPSR for health systems change and to uncover strategies for the transformation of African health systems. While the conference is mainly targeted at Africans working across Africa in the HPSR field, this convening is open to scholars, practitioners, artists, performers, creatives, media, policymakers and activists who take a decolonial approach to their work and lives, in the area of health or any other social justice issue, but who are doing so with a focus on African and who are ideally based on the continent. Participants will be invited to join small breakout discussions in recognition of the wealth of knowledge they bring to the conversation on imagining socially just health systems in Africa from a decolonial perspective.
This convening will be the first of many-Africa-centred, decolonial conversations on the field of HPSR. A number of post-convening activities are planned for the coming months including:
- further webinars and cross-continent conversations on tools that can be used to decolonise the HPSR field;
- representation of the views and thought leadership by the convening organisers at the HSG Global conference to be held in November 2020;
- taking forward the collective knowledge and experience to influence HSG 2020 and future HPSR symposia.
This event is co-sponsored by Health Systems Global (HSG), Atlantic Institute, Tekano, CHESAI, and Wits Public School of Health at the University of Witwatersrand.
The views expressed by the convenors and contributors are their own, and do not reflect those of associated partners, employers and funders including those from the World Bank and other bodies.
Meet our Convenors
Lance is a HPS scholar, PhD candidate and senior Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity. Their PhD explores health systems responsiveness to queer users in primary health care settings. Lance’s advocacy and activism includes partnering with Sex Workers Education and Advocacy TaskForce (SWEAT) and is a board member of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition (SRJC) where they champion rights and access to health for sex workers, queer people and other marginalised populations by contributing to policy and implementation processes. Lance uses creative participatory methodologies to facilitate local, national and global advocacy spaces to enable transformative approaches to achieve health equity.
Shehnaz is a HPSR researcher, occupational therapist, Emerging Voice (2018) and senior Atlantic Health Equity Fellow. Her research focuses on strengthening health systems to provide quality care, with concern for understanding the intersection; racial, gender and health equity; in post-colonial contexts where structural inequity persists. Shehnaz is at the forefront of health equity issues in South Africa and currently holds a research project management role at the University of the Witwatersrand. She serves on the steering committee of the People's Health Movement.
Kentse is currently based at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Graduate School of Business at UCT. Kentse’s work largely focusses on social stratification and exploring how institutions and organisations can advance equity and social justice.
Kentse’s academic background is in Sociology and Organisational Psychology. Prior to joining Bertha Centre, Kentse’s work focused on initiatives that aimed to reduce the mental health treatment gap in South Africa. This included working towards setting up the Counselling Hub in Woodstock which delivers low cost mental health services in Cape Town. Kentse also currently serves on the South African Human Rights Commission Section 11 Committee Monitoring the Implementation of the Mental Health Care Report.
Kentse is a Tekano Health Equity Atlantic Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, a Mail & Guardian 2019 Young 200 award recipient and an Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellow.