Empowering Local Stakeholders Key To Health Promotion In Africa

Washington Post: Ebola is back. Is Africa ready?
Emmanuel Balogun, assistant professor of international relations at Webster University, and Amy S. Patterson, professor of politics at University of the South

“…Our research shows that … Africans with a direct stake in promoting health (‘stakeholders’) have significant power to shape health outcomes. … Africans are not passive participants in the presence of global health organizations such as the WHO — but have the power to affect health outcomes through what may seem to be small activities. Our research shows that religious leaders, traditional healers, and community activists take on specific tasks, such as educating people about outbreaks, mobilizing their followers to help the sick, and providing medicine and initial treatments. … African stakeholders also demonstrate far broader power on health issues. … They have pushed back against health policies they think are not appropriate in their cultural or religious contexts. … [O]ur findings on stakeholder power and trust have wide applicability. We acknowledge the challenges of coordination and adequate resources in health crises such as the current Ebola outbreak in Congo, but our findings suggest that improving the health of local populations requires knowledge about how African players affect outcomes” (9/27).