You are here

My Take on the 2021 CCGH

My Take on the 2021 CCGH
December 2, 2021
Stock photo displaying two (2) rainbows

A reflection by Innocent Ntaganira following his participation at the #CCGH2021


I just attended the Canadian Conference on Global Health (CCGH) which took place from 24-26 November 2021 in Ottawa, Canada. The conference was organized by the Canadian Association for Global Health in partnership with the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana. The theme of the Conference was “Rethinking Partnership Paradigms in Global Health”. This was the first conference I was attending since I moved to Canada at the end of June 2021, when I retired from the World Health Organization after 38 years in public health including 19 years with the World Health Organization. 

I was struck by the “humility tone “ that was reflected in the discussions throughout the conference. Humility in reflecting on the current status of health partnerships between the “Global North” and the “Global South”; Humility in the discussions around issues of power differentials, equity, fairness in the partnership practices. There was an explicit call for a paradigm shift, a change in the narratives, and a rethinking of the vocabulary used to define the relations between the global health partners in the North and the South.

The theme of decolonizing Global Health was very present in the discussions.  It is encouraging to see that this debate is taking place in the Global North and I do hope the discussions are also taking place in global health circles in Low and Middle Income countries of the Global South. Rethinking partnership paradigms does not only apply to Global Health, but the Global Health community could definitely play a catalyzing role in reshaping engagement modalities between the Global North and partners in the South. And everybody has got a role to play in this. At the end of the day, it is going to be the sum of efforts that shall make a difference.

Coming from the Global South and Living in the Global North is an opportunity to provide my modest contribution to the many efforts done to reshape those engagement modalities. This shall be done through inputs into Global Health debates and actions, sharing real-life experiences, and facilitating win-win partnerships between institutions and organizations.

At the end of the Canadian Conference on Global Health, a Canadian colleague whom I very much respect asked me what was my take-home message.  I said that I was very much impressed by the humility tone of the discussions. And her reaction was like “ That is Canada”.