Decolonizing global health: what should be the target of this movement and where does it lead us?

Glob Health Res Policy. 2022 Jan 24;7(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s41256-022-00237-3.


The current decolonizing global health movement is calling us to take a post-colonial perspective at the research and practice of global health, an area that has been re-defined by contemporary scholars and advocates with the purpose of promoting equity and justice. In this article, we summarize the main points of discussion from the Symposium organized by the editorial board of Global Health Research and Policy, convened in July 2021 in Wuhan, China. Experts participating in the symposium discussed what decolonizing global health means, how to decolonize it, and what criteria to apply in measuring its completion. Through the meeting, a consensus was reached that the current status quo of global health is still replete with various forms of colonial vestiges-ideologies and practices-, and to fully decolonize global health, systemic reforms must be taken that target the fundamental assumptions of global health: does investment in global health bring socioeconomic development, or is it the other way around? Three levels of colonial vestiges in global health were raised and one guiding principle was proposed when thinking of solutions for them. More theoretical discussion needs to be explored to guide practices to decolonize global health.

Keywords: Decolonization; Global health; Post-colonialism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Colonialism*
  • Global Health*
  • Social Justice