Decolonising Global (Public) Health: from Western universalism to Global pluriversalities

Clara Affun-Adegbulu, Opemiposi Adegbulu

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


There is an emerging consensus about the need to decolonise Global Public Health. This is evidenced by the proliferation of seminars, conferences and publications in recent times. In many cases, however, the focus and scope of these decolonial efforts tend to be on the Global South and on representation (equality and diversity), practice and the (re)production of knowledge. Yet decolonisation is not 'merely about altering the content but also the term on which we are having the conversation'. In our opinion, a critical reflection about the very concept of Global Health is indispensable to true decolonisation. Global (Public) Health, as currently conceptualised, is based on and inextricably linked to the Eurocentric Conception of the (hu)man. Global (Public) Health, thus, inevitably (re)produces the processes of othering and dehumanisation which are inherent to this conceptualisation of the (hu)man. For Global (Public) Health to become truly decolonised, decolonisation must occur at both ontological and epistemic levels. This requires acknowledging that there are many ways of being and doing, unlearning the universality of being and actively engaging with the pluriversalities of being.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere002947
Number of pages3
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2020


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