Decolonization of global health is not a future event. This journey started decades ago, before use of the term was common or the development sector saw the concept as disruptive. The goals of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have been a major catalyst for the shift, with new voices and local viewpoints being elevated to create sustainable change and accomplish many of the targets we have set for global development. While host country nationals are now taking on greater responsibility in their organizations, more can be done to take full advantage of the benefits of diversity and the potential of decolonization.
Contributors: Henry Omara, Ibrahim Abali, Kenneth Otieno Awuor, Washabiah Chagwa, Peter Gottart, Aeorangajeb Al Hossain and Julia Rosenbaum, FHI 360
As FHI 360 marks its 50th anniversary, explore our history of solutions and future of possibilities.
For years, hand hygiene was a neglected issue within the broader water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector — until COVID-19. During the pandemic, public health messaging has re-emphasized the importance of handwashing and contributed to gains in more people practicing better hand hygiene. But now, we are seeing signs of fatigue and handwashing rates have begun to drop. As the pandemic continues, there is an urgent need to ensure that these gains are not lost. We must create a new normal, one in which hand hygiene is a mainstay in public health interventions. There are three ways to ensure that healthy handwashing behaviors outlast the pandemic.
As I take the helm at FHI 360, I find myself reflecting on John Norris’ authoritative history of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), The Enduring Struggle. It points to the many accomplishments made possible through the funding and genius of USAID and its countless partners around the world. FHI 360 has contributed greatly to many of these successes, most notably in health, where we have helped combat deadly diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV and made modern contraceptives widely accessible.
I recorded this episode of A Deeper Look podcast with Sam Worthington, Chief Executive Officer of InterAction, before the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. But, the crisis amplifies the relevance and urgency of the themes we discussed in this episode.
Sam highlights trends that will shape this decade, including the emergence of fragile states as the epicenter of extreme poverty in the world, the impact of climate change and its effects on the most vulnerable and the concerning rise of nationalism and isolationism. We discuss the role of women in bringing about positive change, the evolution and impact of civil society and the concept of localization.