The case for a Global South centred model in global health
Calls to decolonise global health and tackle historic and systemic injustices in the field have intensified in recent years, but sometimes the way the argument is presented can be counterproductive.
For those of us in the Global South, the discourse can make us feel that our experiences are invalid. We are often portrayed as helpless and needing to be rescued, not by white saviours as in the past, but by well meaning actors in the Global North who are themselves struggling with the legacy of white supremacy, such as racism. This portrayal oversimplifies the power dynamics in the Global South. An essential element of coloniality is that it reproduces itself in colonised countries in the Global South by using incentives—such as granting access to the decision makers in coloniser countries in the Global North. The current discourse overlooks this complexity, and ignores that many people and institutions in the Global South are both beneficiaries and enablers of the existing inequities in global health.2 This idea is often ignored or resisted.
I write this as a woman from Pakistan and a researcher in early childhood development. I have trained in psychology, which enables me to understand the needs behind human behaviours. But beyond my professional roles, I am also human as much as you are, with a heart that can feel and hurt deeply. My views on decolonisation have evolved over the years as I have engaged with the global health community in Pakistan and in other countries of the Global South.