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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Governance Research Program: International Conference on Public Health Governance in Africa

Deadline: May 31, 2015
Date: November 12-13, 2015
Venue: Windhoek, Namibia

CODESRIA is a Pan-African membership research organization established in 1973 with the broad goal of promoting the work of African and Diaspora social scientists. The intersecting fields of governance and healthcare have for years been at the core of the work of CODESRIA with multiple research networks focusing on various aspects of these themes resulting in a series of cutting edge publications on these issues. The council has since 1992 also had an annual Democratic Governance Institute, which has over the years, focused on a wide range of themes. Similarly, it has had an Institute on Health, Politics and Society that broached many important themes including private healthcare systems, the global pharmaceutical industry, HIV/AIDS and the governance of African health systems.

The ongoing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the Mano River Basin of West Africa has surpassed preceeding outbreaks in rates of infection, numbers of casualties and in the geographical spread of the disease. Its centering on three countries, which suffered greatly from the recent wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia has significantly set back post-conflict reconstruction processes that were underway in these countries. Importantly, while the disease has caused significant casualties, its impact on health systems, educational and security systems and economies, to name a few, may even be more damaging.

Unsurprisingly, the outbreak has brought to the fore many themes that often rise to the surface in debates on public health in Africa. Many of these issues, which had come up at the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic are being reharshed with new undertones and inflections. They include questions of global inequalities and their impact on public health in developing countries, the challenges of public healthcare provision and problems of social welfare and social security systems in developing countries and the intricacies of intra and inter-state relations in the face of healthcare challenges. Salutory efforts have been made by social scientists to encourage an approach to dealing with EVD that goes beyond a purely medical approach to raise questions of culture, economics and politics. These have led to interesting questions about the impact of histories of governmentality on epidemic control, the economics and politics of care and the social meanings of illhealth and wellness among others.

Through its conference on the theme ‘Public health governance in Africa’ CODESRIA wishes to seize on opportunities for debate presented by the ongoing EVD epidemic to rekindle wider conversations about public health governance in Africa. While acknowledging the biological dimension of diseases and the systems that are (supposed to be) put in place to deal with them at a societal level, this conference will deliberately seek to insert conversations about these in broader discussions concerning economics, politics, culture and spirituality.

CODESRIA invites abstracts on the following themes from scholars and practitioners that are interested in participating in this conference:

  • Global inequalities and public health delivery in African countries
  • Histories of governance and public health systems in Africa
  • African state evolution, structural adjustment programs and public health provision in Africa
  • Public health governance and broader social policy regimes in Africa
  • The social and cultural meaning of illness and good health
  • The performance and representation of illness, good health, care and empathy
  • The ethics, politics and economics of caregiving and biomedical research
  • Epidemic control, popular culture and the arts
  • Patents (property rights) and human rights in regimes of care
  • Identity politics, integration efforts and processes of othering in the face of public health challenges
  • The gendered dimensions of epidemics, epidemic control and public health governance in Africa

Those interested in participating in the conference, which will be held in Windhoek, Namibia on November 19-20, 2015 are invited to send their abstracts and CVs with full contact details including email addresses and phone numbers to CODESRIA not later than May 31, 2015. Authors of abstracts selected should be ready to submit full papers by 31st August 2015. All documents should be sent by email to grp@codesria.sn. Please use the subject line ‘Governance Research Program’ when sending your email.

Governance Research Program
BP 3304, CP 18524
Dakar, Senegal
Tel: +221 – 33 825 9822/23
Fax: +221- 33 824 1289
E-mail: grp@codesria.sn

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