Project

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African contributions to global health: Circulating knowledge and innovations

Applicant Tischler Julia
Number 183577
Funding scheme Sinergia
Research institution Departement Geschichte Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Interdisciplinary
Start/End 01.06.2019 - 31.05.2023
Approved amount 2'201'100.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Interdisciplinary
General history (without pre-and early history)
Tropical Medicine
Other disciplines of Engineering Sciences

Keywords (7)

innovation; history; knowledge; urban planning; public health; cross-continental learning ; Africa

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Diskurse über Innovation basieren häufig auf der stillschweigenden Annahme, dass neue wissenschaftliche und technische Errungenschaften im "Westen" initiiert werden. Länder des Globalen Südens hingegen erscheinen als passive Empfänger. Unser Projekt stellt diese unidirektionalen Modelle in Frage und untersucht afrikanische Beiträge zur globalen Gesundheit.
Lay summary

Eine Gruppe von Forschenden der Geschichtswissenschaften (Universität Basel), Public Health (Swiss TPH) und Stadtplanung (EPFL) untersucht Wissen, Praktiken oder Anwendungen, die zur Verbesserung der Gesundheitsversorgung in Afrika entwickelt wurden, aber für Gesundheitsfragen weltweit relevant geworden sind - oder das Potenzial dazu haben. In einer Zeit schrumpfender öffentlicher Haushalte und alternder Gesellschaften im Globalen Norden lässt sich viel von afrikanischen Ländern lernen, die in den letzten zwei Jahrzehnten gute Ergebnisse bei der Gesundheit ihrer Bevölkerung erzielt haben. Unser Projekt bringt diese aktuellen Anliegen in den Dialog mit wissenschaftlichen Debatten über Wissenszirkulation und Innovation.

Wir untersuchen Konzepte wie "Innovation" kritisch, historisieren sie und überprüfen ihre zugrundeliegenden normativen Annahmen. Es geht uns um aktuelle Herausforderungen in den Gesundheitssystemen ebenso wie um die Geschichte transkontinentaler Austausch- und Lernprozesse im Gesundheitswesen. Sechs Fallstudien decken verschiedene Themenbereich ab, darunter Medikamentenentwicklung, staatliche Gesundheitssysteme und Krankenkassen sowie Umweltgesundheit und ganzheitliche Ansätze im Gesundheitswesen. Unsere Zusammenarbeit erfolgt durch regelmässige Workshops und Konferenzen und schliesst Projektpartner in Sambia, Tansania, Kenia und Côte d’Ivoire ein. Unsere Ergebnisse werden Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern, Studierenden, Gesundheitsexpertinnen und –experten, Verwaltungsfachleuten und einer breiteren Öffentlichkeit durch verschiedene Formen der Veröffentlichung, Konferenzen und Lehrveranstaltungen zugänglich gemacht.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 22.05.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Publications

Publication
Analyzing four decades of literature on urban planning studies in Africa (1980–2020)
Kemajou Armel, Konou Akpedze Akuto, Jaligot Rémi, Chenal Jérôme (2020), Analyzing four decades of literature on urban planning studies in Africa (1980–2020), in African Geographical Review, 1-19.
Ehlers, Sarah: Europa und die Schlafkrankheit. Koloniale Seuchenbekämpfung, europäische Identitäten und moderne Medizin 1890–1950. Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019. 377 S., Ill. (Kritische St
Hammel Tanja (2020), Ehlers, Sarah: Europa und die Schlafkrankheit. Koloniale Seuchenbekämpfung, europäische Identitäten und moderne Medizin 1890–1950. Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019. 377 S., Ill. (Kritische St, 77(2), 438-439, Schwabe Verlag (online), Basel (online) 77(2), 438-439.
Reverse innovation in global health
Zinsstag Jakob, Pelikan Kristina, Hammel Tanja, Tischler Julia, Flahault Antoine, Utzinger Jürg, Probst-Hensch Nicole (2019), Reverse innovation in global health, in Journal of Public Health and Emergency, 3, 2-2.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Zambia Zambia (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques Ivory Coast (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Nairobi Metropolitan Service Kenya (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Kenya Medical Research Institute Kenya (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Interdiscilinarität, Interprofessionalität, Internationalität im Kontext der Gesundheitskrise Individual talk African contributions to global health: Circulating knowledge and innovations 19.05.2021 Online via Zoom, Germany Pessoa Colombo Vitor; van Zyl-Hermann Danelle; Osei Afriyie Doris;
Journal Club, Malaria Research and Training Centre Individual talk Clinical trials efficiency improvement- lessons learned from poverty related diseases drug development 04.02.2021 Bamako, Mali Nebie Ipyn Eric;
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Meeting Poster Do the right thing - Neglected diseases as a model for efficient drug development 15.11.2020 Virtual meeting, United States of America Nebie Ipyn Eric;
Swiss Researching Africa Days 2020 Talk given at a conference How clinical trials at TDRC Ndola contributed to combatting Malaria 23.10.2020 Online via Zoom, Switzerland Hammel Tanja;
Swiss Researching Africa Days 2020 Talk given at a conference Public health surveillance in post-war Kenya: Indigenous practices and political interests 23.10.2020 Online via Zoom, Switzerland van Zyl-Hermann Danelle;
Forschungskolloquium, Institut für Biomedizinische Ethik und Medizingeschichte, Universität Zürich Individual talk Verhandlungen um Malariatherapie &-prophylaxe – Einblicke in eine Verflechtungsgeschichte von Lariam 13.05.2020 Zürich, Switzerland Hammel Tanja;
Institut für Medizingeschichte, Universität Bern: Scientific advisory board meeting Individual talk African contributions to global health 19.10.2019 Bern, Switzerland van Zyl-Hermann Danelle; Hammel Tanja;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Kick-off workshop: African contributions to global health 12.11.2019 Basel, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
COVID-19: Learning from Africa - or not? 16.03.2021 Online via Zoom, Switzerland
Inequitable urban development: A global health issue 10.12.2020 Online via Zoom, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions African contributions to global health German-speaking Switzerland 2021
Talks/events/exhibitions COVID-19: Learning from Africa - or not? International 2021
Talks/events/exhibitions Globale Gesundheit – Innovation aus Afrika? German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Talks/events/exhibitions Inequitable urban development: A global health issue International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Koloniales Denken wirkt überall nach». Interview über koloniales Erbe der Schweiz Tagesanzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: radio, television Tge far cun statuas dispitaivlas? In exempel a Neuchâtel RTR Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2020
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) www.globalhealthafrica.ch International 2019

Awards

Title Year
Postdoctoral research fellowship: German Historical Institute, Washington, USA 2020

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
175666 Violent Encounters: Practices and Perceptions of Violence in Southern Namibia and the Northern Cape, c. 1880-1910 01.10.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)
172555 Blurring the Blue Line: African Police, Emergency and the Struggle for Independence in Colonial Northern Matabeleland, 1959-1980 01.04.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)
131440 La fabrique de la ville au quotidien. Planification urbaine et habitat à Bangalore et Dakar 01.09.2010 Fellowships for advanced researchers
170113 Transmission dynamics and hybridization of human and animal trematodes in sub-Saharan Africa 01.01.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Scholarly and policy discourse on innovation has been based on the (tacit) understanding that new developments generally occur in the west, while lower-income countries in other parts of the world adopt them only after some delay. Challenging these unidirectional models, this project focuses on African contributions to global health by examining knowledge, practices or applications that were designed for improving healthcare in Africa but that have become - or have the potential to become - relevant to questions of health globally. At a time of shrinking public budgets and ageing societies in the global north, much can be learned from African countries, which have done remarkably well in the past two decades with respect to population health outcomes. Our project brings these current concerns into conversation with academic debates on knowledge circulation and innovation. Cross-continental learning is a complex phenomenon, exceeding the analytical power of a single discipline. Our project is to our knowledge the first to tackle this phenomenon with a broad inter- and transdisciplinary perspective. Our collaborative research linking public health (Swiss TPH), urban planning (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL) and African history (University of Basel) is empirically grounded and follows a common conceptual objective. We critically investigate concepts such as ‘innovation’, historicize them and review their underlying normative assumptions. While our research is motivated by concerns to respond to present-day challenges in health systems, it is based on the premise that intercontinental exchanges in public health share a much longer trajectory, starting before the onset of colonialism and continuing after WW2 with the emergence of international health politics. Moreover, just as we must recognize that learning is not always positive, we must not overlook the vastly asymmetrical contexts in which these exchanges have been taking place. We are convinced that it is only on the basis of critically nuanced and historically grounded investigations that the potential of southern innovations for global health policy can be unlocked. Hence, beyond its thematic focus, our research project advances interdisciplinary research by bridging the gap between the different academic cultures of the humanities, the sciences and application-oriented research. Our project enriches ongoing debates in public health by adopting an unorthodox perspective on innovation starting from the south and incorporating historical dimensions. Our case studies also advance the field of urban planning by intertwining it with health research, revealing previously unexplored synergies, while also gaining new insights into questions of knowledge flows in global and medical history. We examine the period from late-colonialism to the present day, focusing on colonial and international cooperation in different African contexts and the thematic fields of drug development, healthcare systems as well as environmental health and holistic approaches to healthcare. Our collaboration will be facilitated through regular workshops and conferences and includes project partners at different African institutions. We aim to make our results accessible to scholars, students, public health experts, administrators and the public through different forms of publication, conferences and teaching activities.
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