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Brocher Foundation Workshop - Disrupting Global Health Narratives

  • Geneva Switzerland (map)

The Global Health Governance Group will host a 3-day international workshop, sponsored by the Brocher Foundation, on 'Alternative Perspectives of the World Bank and its Influence on Global Health Development'. The event will bring together experts in health policy, economics, anthropology, history, and public health to discuss the development of global health policies at the World Bank. The workshop will broadly consider how to better integrate Global South perspectives in approaching the history and influence of global health institutions. Please find the provisional programme below.


Fondation Brocher & Global Health Governance Programme at the University of Edinburgh Present:

Disrupting Global Health Narratives: Alternative Perspectives on the World Bank’s Influence on Global Health

Day 1 – Monday, Jan 21

9:00 Scene Setting:

Introducing the ‘standard World Bank narrative’ and the work of the Economic Gaze team

Speaker: Devi Sridhar (University of Edinburgh, UK)

9:15 Goals of the workshop:

What do we currently know about the Bank’s global health influence and impact? What themes need revision or closer scrutiny? What methodologies and sources could help us reframe the Bank’s work?

Speakers: Marlee Tichenor and Janelle Winters (University of Edinburgh, UK)

9:30 Panel 1 – Governing Global Health:

What influence has that Bank had on global health in relation to other international organizations?

Chair: Janelle Winters (University of Edinburgh, UK)

9:40 – Martin Gorsky (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK)

9:50 – Sophie Harman (Queen Mary University of London, UK)

10:00 – Anuj Kapilashrami (Queen Mary University of London, UK)

10:10 – Jo Vearey (Wits University, South Africa)

10:20 – Sumegha Asthana (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Discussion

12:00 Working lunch

Discussion questions: How do we delineate ‘health’ at a development institution like the Bank? IHME definitions, water/sanitation, social services, percentages, etc.?

13:00 Panel 2 – The Economic Lens:

How has the Bank and its affiliates justified its investment in health? How has its conception of health impacted other global health actors, especially in the private sector?

Chair: Felix Stein (University of Edinburgh, UK)

13:10 – Mark Hellowell (University of Edinburgh, UK)

13:20 – Amanda Glassman (Center for Global Development, USA)

13:30 – James Akazili (Navrongo Health Research Center, Ghana)

13:40 – Alexis Walker (Johns Hopkins University, USA)

13:50 Coffee break

14:30 Discussion

15:45 Close

19:00 Talk from Francisco Songane (Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Switzerland; Former Minister of Health, Mozambique) (19:00-19:20) over dinner

Day 2 – Tuesday, Jan 22

9:00 Panel 3 – The Knowledge Bank and the Role of Metrics:

What ideologies have underpinned the development of health metrics at the Bank, and how influential have these metrics been outside of the Bank? How is the Bank’s evidence produced and used?

Chair: Marlee Tichenor (University of Edinburgh, UK)

9:10 – Jean-Paul Gaudrillière (Cermes3, France)

9:20 – Katherine Kenny (University of New South Wales, Australia)

9:30 – Tianxin Pan (Melbourne University, Australia)

9:40 – Katerini Storeng (University of Oslo, Norway)


11:00 Coffee break

11:30 Panel 4 – Power and Decision-Making:

Are countries really the Bank’s clients? How has the Bank engaged country partners, and how have country partners held the Bank to account?

Chair: Genevie Fernandes (University of Edinburgh, UK)

11:10 – Jesse Bump (Harvard University, USA)

11:20 – Purnima Menon (International Food Policy Research Institute, India)

11:30 – Yusra Shawar (Johns Hopkins University, USA)

11:40 – Suerie Moon (Graduate Institute-Geneva, Switzerland)


13:15 Working lunch

Discussion question: What alternative narratives have we seen? What themes have we seen?

14:30 Wide group discussion about themes:

What narratives and alternative ways of looking at the Bank’s history and influence have we seen? Have we seen alternate timelines and changing chronologies? What alternate themes?

15:15 Coffee break

15:45 Small group discussion about methodologies:

What frameworks have we used or could we use to study the Bank? What do they offer, and what are their drawbacks, especially in terms of the complex web of actors and power dynamics?

17:00 Close

19:00 Dinner

Day 3 - Wednesday, Jan 23

9:00 Wide group discussion:

Review of methodologies outlined yesterday and what sources could be used What types of sources could be used for more inclusive research, and in what contexts (in-country sources like newspaper and social media; activist and critic voices; financial data; local archives; donor country materials, etc.)?

Output: Outline for a workshop summary article, focusing on themes, methodologies, and sources

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Targeted group work for outputs:

Break-out groups, based either on the four panel themes or other themes that have emerged, led by the Global Health Governance Group team

12:30 Lunch

Earlier Event: June 2
Hay Festival