Decolonising the global to local movement: Time for a new paradigm

Chapman, R. R., Raige, H., Abdulahi, A., Mohamed, S., & Osman, M. (2021). Decolonising the global to local movement: Time for a new paradigm. Global Public Health, 1–14.

Mama Amaan Project (MAP) delivered perinatal education and doula services to underserved refugee and immigrant communities in Seattle, Washington. MAP presented at a ‘global to local (glocal)’ workshop for US-based global health agencies redirecting their experience and resources to address domestic health crises. Glocal models reference Global South anti-colonial social transformations through Primary Health Care (PHC) – ‘health for all as a right’ and investment in strong public sectors. As Black women working in our communities, we resisted labelling MAP glocal. Western donors and NGOs appropriate PHC’s community participation narratives, meanwhile implementing World Bank/IMF economic structural adjustment health system cuts – thereby shifting austerity-related resource shortfalls to communities. In US contexts of neoliberal shrinking social safety nets and workers’ rights, similar strategies to address austerity-related health disparities are promoted as ‘global to local’. Projects like MAP cannot substitute quality public services. They expose gaps and build community empowerment to demand quality healthcare. Drawing on MAP and ‘global health’ experience in Mozambique, we call for re-embracing PHC’s activist values – agitating for health as a universal human right for all, rather than putting the burden and blame on underserved communities. We propose decolonising the ‘glocal’ paradigm by embracing ‘transnationality’, ‘relationality’ and ‘mutuality’.