A call to action to reform academic global health partnerships
The global health enterprise has contributed to improving the wellbeing of people and increasing access to health services. However, deep structural inequities persist between institutions from high-income countries (HICs) and those in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in access to resources, training, and knowledge. This results in significant health inequities, lack of ownership, lost opportunities, misguided priorities, and wholly insufficient attempts at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Power imbalances are embedded across funding opportunities, research management and coordination, knowledge production and transfer, access to training resources and most technical and political aspects of global health. The current pandemic, which has further highlighted these inequities, is an opportunity to acknowledge and rectify these gaps. The changes needed include ensuring that partnerships between HIC and LMIC institutions are equitable and that benefits from those arrangements accrue equally to all parties. Collaborations rooted in respect, honesty, equity, as well as commitment to mutual capacity building and health outcomes aligned with the needs of the LMIC partners are essential to reforming global health.