Press contacts: in Leeds (UK) – Dr. Fifa Rahman | +44.7955.809114 | frahman@matahari.global; in Windhoek (Namibia) – Nyasha Chingore-Munazvo | +264 (61) 300381| nyasha@arasa.info;  

15 July 2021 –

The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) and Matahari Global Solutions (Matahari) are pleased to announce that the first research project designed by our race and global health initiative has received ethics clearance. “Now more than ever, there’s a need to quantify the inequalities within global health propagated by racism by delving deep into existing inequalities in infrastructure, in leadership models, as well as in funding”, says Dr. Stellah Wairimu Bosire, member of the initiative’s Advisory Committee

The initiative received the ethics clearance certificate from the Human Research Ethics Committee (Non-Medical) at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa on 5 July 2021. The research project titled “Assessing Challenges and Opportunities to Solving Racism in Global Health” will conduct qualitative research among three sets of stakeholder groups: a) White leaders of global health institutions based in the Global North; b) Black and Brown professionals working in global health institutions, including human resource staff, project implementers, staff within agencies; and c) Key informants, such as white heads of diversity of organisations and black or brown persons who work with – but not for – global health institutions. In addition, the initiative will circulate an online questionnaire directed at staff at global health organizations of different budget sizes.  

“We’re trying to understand why diversity and inclusion panels haven’t worked, whether staff in global health agencies can confide in their white colleagues, and whether the CEOs of these agencies are actively anti-racist.” says Dr. Fifa Rahman, Principal Consultant at Matahari Global. She adds: “It’s time – we can’t ignore racism in global health any further.”

Research will commence over August and September 2021, with publication of results planned before the end of the year. As part of the analysis, the initiative will begin outlining a racism audit, meant as a framework in support of global health organizations exploring the layers of racism and white supremacy systems within their organizations. 

Felicita Hikuam, Executive Director at ARASA adds, “Organizations in global health need to pay more attention to white supremacy and the effects of racial biases within their organizations and in their interactions with partner organizations. Our research will provide the necessary data to go beyond the obvious examples of racism.”

The research focus was one of several themes identified in a Roundtable of 20 Black and Brown professionals in global health. Matahri and ARASA published an analysis of the themes discussed in the Roundtable in their Inception Report “Racial Diversity in Global Health. From Rhetoric to Tangible Change: Pitfalls and Opportunities.”

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