Epidemics and the Health of African Nations – MISTRA’s latest publication probes possible solutions to the continent’s heavy burden of disease

Epidemics and the Health of African Nations – the latest publication from The Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) – is out now.

News footage of epidemics and disease in Africa is a familiar sight. Yet these outbreaks are often presented without reference to the preceding events and conditions that have triggered them.

In MISTRA’s new book, Epidemics and the Health of African Nations, researchers and practitioners from within the continent explore its vulnerability to disease, and demonstrate that this disease occurs commonly because of political and economic influences.

The contributing authors use case studies to extract lessons and challenge conventional frameworks about disease. The chapters explore the relationship between disease and political and socio-economic contexts. A key argument is that a well-functioning health system is at the core of a country’s capacity to provide quality healthcare to counter an epidemic.

Authors argue that it would be more productive to mobilise resources to build strong health systems across Africa than to mobilise international resources in a panicked response to an outbreak.

This volume brings African experts together to probe possible solutions to the continent’s heavy burden of disease. The recurring themes in this book and the insights extracted from individual case studies will be helpful in devising policy for the control of disease and the combatting of epidemics in Africa.

List of contributors 

Zamanzima Mazibuko, editor of this volume, is the senior researcher in the Knowledge Economy and Scientific Advancement Faculty at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) in Johannesburg, South Africa. She obtained her MSc (Med) in pharmaceutics cum laude and has published on nano-enabled drug delivery systems.

Samuel Adu-Gyamfi is a lecturer in the Department of History and Political Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana. His research focus is on evolutions in health, public health and health policy, environment, policy in science and technology, traditional and integrative medicine research, as well as the social and political development of

Miriam Di Paola is a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand and a research fellow at the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research. She has participated in international research projects and authored several publications on the South African labour market, labour migration, and on the contribution of nurses to public health.

Kenneth Juma is a researcher at the African Population and Health Research Centre, Kenya. He is a doctoral student in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at Makerere University, Uganda. He holds an Erasmus Master’s in Public Health in Disaster Settings from the University of Oviedo and Catholic University of Louvain, an MSc in epidemiology, and a BSc from the University of Nairobi.

Bill Kinsey holds three postgraduate degrees from Stanford University, including a PhD from Stanford’s Food Research Institute. He has done extensive fieldwork on southern Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe. He is currently a visiting fellow at the African Studies Centre at Leiden University in The Netherlands.

Farai D Madzimbamuto is an anaesthesiologist and associate professor at the University of Zimbabwe. Prof. Madzimbamuto is the chair of the Department of Health Professions Education and a founding chair of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights.

Kaka Mudambo is a malariologist and public health specialist employed as the focal point/regional co-ordinator of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria for East, Central, Southern and West Africa. Brigadier General (Dr) Mudambo is also the regional co-ordinator of the SADC 16 Member States Military Health Services (MHS), of which he was a founder member, and responsible for all Military Health programmes. He is a board member of the Malaria Elimination Eight (E8) and Chairperson of the E8 Board oversight committee (OC).

Steven Mufamadi is the founder and managing director of Nabio Consulting (Pty) Ltd, a start-up company that provides consulting services on nanotechnology, biotechnology and pharmaceutics, since 2015. His PhD is in pharmaceutics from Wits University, Johannesburg.

Sunanda Ray is a medical doctor and public health physician. She is also a fellow of the Faculty of Public Health (UK) and is currently employed by the Department of Community Medicine, University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, Harare, Zimbabwe. Dr Ray has 35 years’ experience of working in public health in Zimbabwe, Botswana and England and as an activist for social justice in health.

David Sanders is Emeritus Professor and founding director of the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa, and is a paediatrician qualified in public health. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Cape Town for his contribution to the global policy of primary health care. He is a founder and currently global co-chair of Peoples Health Movement.

Nathaniel Umukoro is a senior lecturer and head of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Edo University, Iyamho, Nigeria. He obtained a BSci degree from the University of Benin before proceeding to the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he obtained MSc, MA and DPhil degrees.

Beth Vale is an independent researcher and writer. Her research interests span youth, sex and body politics, nocturnal cities, health and illness, and the everyday production of sociality, power and privilege in South African society. Dr Vale holds a DPhil in social policy and Intervention from Oxford University, an MA in sociology from the University of Cape Town, and a BA honours in philosophy and political studies from Rhodes University.

Alex van den Heever presently holds the position of chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is an adjunct professor and has a master’s in economics from the University of Cape Town. He has published extensively in the field of health policy, the implementation and review of health public–private partnerships, and the regulation of health systems.

Gerald Yonga is the president of the NCD Alliance in East Africa and a Visiting Professor at the NCD Research Thematic Unit, School of Medicine, University of Nairobi, Kenya. He is founding chair of NCD Alliance Kenya, East Africa NCD Alliance and Africa NCD Alliances Network, and is a board member of the NCD Alliance (Global).


The Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) is an independent research institute that takes a longterm view on the strategic challenges facing South Africa. MISTRA was founded by a group of South Africans with experience in research, academia, policy-making and governance who saw the need to create a platform of engagement around strategic issues facing South Africa. It is an Institute that combines research and academic development, strategic reflection and intellectual discourse. It applies itself to issues such as economics, sociology, history, arts and culture and the logics of natural sciences. For more, visit www.mistra.org.za.

Categories Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Alex van den Heever Beth Vale Bill Kinsey David Sanders Epidemics and the Health of African Nations Farai D Madzimbamuto Gerald Yonga Jacana Media Kaka Mudambo Kenneth Juma Miriam Di Paola MISTRA Nathaniel Umukoro New books New releases Samuel Adu-Gyamfi Steven Mufamadi Sunanda Ray The Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection Zamanzima Mazibuko

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