Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

CODESRIA Gender institute (session 2016) : Gender, Diseases and Public Health Governance in Africa

Deadline: 30 April 2016

Number of visits: 2682

Topic: Gender, Diseases and Public Health Governance in Africa
Date: 4th -15th July, 2016
Venue: Dakar, Senegal

Call for applications: Session 2016

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) is pleased to announce the 2016 session of its annual Gender Institute. It invites researchers to submit their applications for participation in this Institute to be held from 4th to 15th of July, 2016 in Dakar, Senegal.

Launched in 1994 by CODESRIA, the Gender Institute is an interdisciplinary forum which brings every year together about fifteen researchers from various parts of the continent and the Diaspora, as well as some non-African scholars who are undertaking innovative research on topics related to the general theme of Gender. Initially aimed at promoting widespread awareness of the concept of gender in the social science research community, the Institute has subsequently been organized around specific themes designed to strengthen the integration of gender analysis into social science research in Africa and encourage the emergence of a community of researchers versed in the field of gender studies.


The sessions are led by a scientific director who, with the support of the selected resource persons, ensures that the laureates are exposed to a wide range of research and policy issues. Each laureate is required to prepare a research paper to be presented during the session. The revised versions of such papers will undergo a peer review for publication by CODESRIA. The CODESRIA Documentation and Information Centre (CODICE) will provide participants with a comprehensive bibliography on the theme of the Institute. Access to a number of documentation centers in and around Dakar will also be also facilitated.


The CODESRIA Gender Institute will be held in French and in English through simultaneous translation.

2016 Session Theme: Gender, Diseases and Public Health Governance in Africa

The re-emergence of a more virulent strain of the Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever (EHF) in West Africa in 2014 has brought to light some key issues of public health governance in Africa. One such issue is the gendered nature of epidemic-prone infectious diseases in Africa. Current epidemiological statistics on Ebola indicate that though the initial cases were predominantly male, the disease is slowly becoming a female epidemic in the affected countries in Africa. This gendered pattern of female vulnerability to disease in its progression and as it progresses in the population, mirrors that of the HIV/AIDS pandemic which started globally as a male disease and metamorphosed in Africa to become a major female pandemic. In the high HIV prevalence countries of Southern Africa, HIV infection rates among 15-19 year old females are sometimes five times higher compared to males in the same age groups.

But while heterosexual transmission provides a plausible explanation for the gendered nature of some diseases, a review of other “tropical diseases” like malaria, schistosomiasis and even trachoma suggests that female vulnerability to diseases in Africa may extends to diseases that are not sexually transmitted.

For many years, researchers have reported that more African men than women presented at health centres for treatment of malaria, thus concluding that malaria prevalence was higher among men than women. However, work by Sims, 1994 suggests that infection rates among female and children are similar to those of men, but time and mobility constraints and other engagements discourage women from attending clinics. Familiarity with malaria symptoms especially in high endemic areas may lead women to engage in home treatment of malaria for themselves and the children. Thus, statistics showing high rates of malaria among males may actually reflect gender differences in health service use rather than differences in prevalence.

McGregor, 1984 argues that a major gender difference relating to malaria is to do with the severity of the consequences of the disease. Malaria among women during pregnancy can have very detrimental health consequences and may lead to the development of chronic anaemia which is a far more severe outcome than in men.

Michelson (1992) focussing on another common “tropical disease” schistosomiasis, found that in Nigeria, the prevalence of schistosomiasis peaked among females aged 5-15 and prevalence remains high compared to that of males because young females engage in gender roles that continuously exposure to water.

Vlassoff and Bonilla, 1994, question whether the excessive focus on women’s reproductive services in Africa leads to loss of opportunities in the detection of other diseases. So the way public health facilities are organised, the whole maternal and child health focus creates some illusion that the only diseases that women suffer from are those related to reproduction.

Understanding gender and diseases has serious implications for governance of public health in Africa. Governance of public health in Africa relates to more than just the role of government. It includes a diverse number of players who influence health outcomes. Governance includes the role of family, patriarchy, culture and community in determining exposure to disease. Governance includes national government, international NGOs and global health experts who all influence disease outcomes of people in Africa. The relationship between gender, disease and governance of public health raises some key questions which this Institute will explore?

1. Why are African females vulnerable to disease? What is it about femaleness or maleness that leads to differences in exposure to disease? Can public governance at any level work effectively without acknowledging that femaleness and maleness matters for disease exposure and disease prevention in Africa?

2. What is the role of family, culture and patriarchy in the creation of gender differences in the use of health facilities? How does this impact on governance of public health in Africa?

3. Can national governments provide policies for disease prevention without addressing the gendered nature of diseases in Africa? In what ways can health priorities be set from a gender perspective?

4. At global level why is it that global statistics on diseases in Africa are not published by gender? What are the implications of this global absence of data for our understanding of gender and disease in Africa? What role does the global governance of public health influence Africa’s own public health governance?

By linking the various levels of public health governance and gender it is clear that the main question that the gender institute is actually addressing is “In Africa, is it the diseases that are gendered or is it the governance of public health which is gendered?

The Director

Ravayi Marindo of Curtin School of Public Health (Western Australia) will be the director of the 2016 Gender Institute on Gender, Diseases and Public Health Governance in Africa. The Director of the Institute will carry out the following tasks:

  • Participate in the selection of laureates and the identification of appropriate resource persons;
  • Interact with resource persons and laureates towards adequate preparation for the Institute;
  • Design the courses for the session, including the specification of sub-themes;
  • Deliver a set of lectures and conduct a critical analysis of the papers presented by resource persons and laureates;
  • Submit a written scientific report on the session;
  • The Director will edit the revised versions of the papers presented by the resource persons with a view to submitting them for publication in one of CODESRIA’s collections. He will also assist CODESRIA in assessing the papers presented by laureates during the Institute for publication.

Resource Persons

The CODESRIA 2016 Gender institute calls for applications for senior scholars to work as resource persons for the institute. Applicants must have a PhD and are expected to have at least five publications related to at least 5 publications in the area of gender, health or health policies.

a) If their expertise is not in the area of gender and disease/health, then they should have published on gender theory or feminist theory.
b) Resources person must have published in the area of health in Africa in which gender is a component. Such resources persons will be expected to have knowledge of various theories of health.
c) Resources persons who have published in the area of health policy in Africa will also be considered. It is the expectation of the Institute that such resource person would have published some work related to governance of public health in Africa.

Lectures to be delivered during the session are intended to offer laureates an opportunity to advance their reflections on the theme of the Institute. The resource persons will be expected to produce lecture materials which would stimulate laureates to engage in discussion and debate around their respective lectures and the general body of literature available on the theme.

Once selected, resource persons must:

  • Interact with the Director of the Institute and the laureates to help the latter readjust their research questions and their methodological approaches;
  • Submit a copy of their course materials for reproduction and distribution to participants no later than one week before they deliver their lectures;
  • Deliver their lectures, participate in debates and comment on the research proposals and the papers of the laureates;
  • Review and submit the revised version of their lecture notes or research papers for publication by CODESRIA not later than two months following their presentation at the Institute.

Applications for the position of resource person should include:
1. An application letter;
2. A curriculum vitae;
3. Two (2) published papers;
4. A proposal of not more than five (5) pages in length, outlining the issues to be covered in the three (3) proposed lectures, including one on methodological issues;


Applicants should be PhD candidates or scholars in their early career with a proven capacity to conduct research on the theme of the Institute. Intellectuals active in the policy process and/or social movements and civil society organizations are also encouraged to apply. The number of places offered by CODESRIA for this session is limited to ten (10). Non-African scholars who are able to raise funds for their participation may also apply for a limited number of places.
Applicants’ proposals must bring together the three components of the topic: gender, diseases and governance of public health In Africa. The proposed work can be based on empirical studies including field work using quantitative or qualitative methodologies; analytical work involving analysis of existing data or case studies. All work must have some theoretical grounding. Papers can be from any social science discipline including gender studies, sociology, anthropology, demography, economics; or health sciences like epidemiology or biostatistics. Scholars are encouraged to show through their work the way in which gender, diseases and public health governance are linked.

Applications for the position of laureate should include:
1. One duly completed application form;
2. An application letter;
3. A letter indicating institutional or organizational affiliation;
4. A curriculum vitae;
5. A research proposal not more than ten (10) pages including a descriptive analysis of the work the applicant intends to undertake, an outline of the theoretical interest of the topic chosen by the applicant, the relationship of the topic to the problematic and concerns of the theme of the 2016 Gender Institute ;
6. Two (2) reference letters from scholars or researchers known for their competence and expertise in the candidate’s research area (geographic and disciplinary), including their names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses;
7. A copy of the passport.

Applications Deadline

The deadline for submission of applications is 30th April, 2016. The laureates will be notified of the results of the selection in early May 2016. They will thus be able to use the rest of the month of May to gather field information and improve their draft research report to be presented at the Institute. The laureates will be required to work on the document and prepare it for publication after the Institute.

Submission of Applications

All applications should be sent electronically to:

For specific questions, please contact:

Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop x Canal IV
BP 3304, CP 18524, Dakar, Senegal
Tel.: (221) 33 825 98 21/22/23