Health System Challenges and the COVID-19 Response in Africa - Field Experiences from Kenya

The Centre for Global Health at UiO is pleased to announce a webinar part of the Global Health and the Pandemic webinar series with Professors Ruth Prince and Paul Wenzel Geissler as they discuss their experiences while in Kenya as the COVID-19 pandemic started to unfold.

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Photo (left to right): Newspaper headlines in early March, 2020 in Kenya & a single-use protective equipment kit received during Ebola-preparedness, taken out in a rural Kenyan hospital in anticipation of COVID-19 (Photo by: Paul Wenzel Geissler)



Anthropologists, Ruth J. Prince and Paul Wenzel Geissler have strong ties to the country of Kenya with years of time and dedication to their research from the country. Both were recently in Kenya during the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, and as of recently have returned home to Norway. While in Kenya and since returning home they have followed the situation in Kenya closely, tying in their recent research and project about Universal Health Coverage in Kenya, as part of understanding the health system.

During this webinar, both will share their personal experience while in Kenya and thoughts on the African response to the COVID-19 crisis, consequences for the poor, implementation of closures, and other thoughts on how a global crisis hits Kenya. Johanne Sundby will lead the webinar and open up a Q&A session from listeners to engage with the speakers. 


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Photo: Paul Wenzel Geissler

Professor Paul Wenzel Geissler teaches Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. With Guillaume Lachenal, John Manton, Noémi Tousignant and other scholars and artists, he recently published Traces of the Future (Intellect, 2016), and with Tousignant the special issue Beyond Realism – Africas Medical Dreams (Africa 2020). With Ruth Prince, he is currently studying the remains and afterlives of the East African AIDS epidemic, revisiting their book on AIDS in Kenya, The Land Is Dying (Berghahn, 2010).




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Photo: Ruth J. Prince

Professor Ruth J. Prince is an associate Professor in Medical Anthropology at the Institute of Health and Society at the University of Oslo. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the project Universal Health Coverage and the Public Good in Africa, funded by the European Research Council. The project critically examines moves towards Universal Health Coverage in four African countries - Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Tanzania, and the associated debates about the public good. Her recent publications include:


Photo: Johanne Sundby

Professor Johanne Sundby is an obstetrician who has held a professorship in global community health at the University of Oslo  for many years. She has worked on reproductive and maternal health issues in many African countries, and has served as a policy and research adviser to the Norwegian Health Ministry, NORAD, WHO/Geneva and the Norwegian and Swedish Research Councils. Fields covered are maternal mortality and morbidity, female genital mutilation, sexually transmitted infections, contraception, unsafe abortion and violence against women. She has initiated several training programs and institutional collaborations, and has worked on science capacity building for African scholars at the masters and PhD level for two decades. She is interested in health systems responses to emerging needs among women, especially the poor, the rural and the non-privileged. Quality of care, and access to and coverage of health services for pregnant migrants are current areas of work.


Webinar format

This webinar will be a conversation between Professors Ruth J. Prince and Paul Wenzel Geissler followed by an open Q&A session, moderated by Professor Johanne Sundby. All participants must register (below) for the webinar in order to receive the Zoom link. Please note that this webinar will be recorded and distributed to those who registered but were unable to join. 


On the seminar series Global Health and the Pandemic:

The Centre for Global Health at the University of Oslo is providing a virtual space for scholars, practitioners, researchers, students and advocates through its webinar series, Global Health and the Pandemic. This series will provide reports from the frontlines and foster critical discussions on global health headlining the COVID-19 pandemic.


Published May 5, 2020 1:25 PM - Last modified June 3, 2020 9:37 AM