NGOs, Disease Control, and Development: The Rockefeller Foundation and Wellcome Trust in Colonial Africa

by Heidi Frontani

Jan 1, 2013
Africa, with only three percent of the global health workforce, bears approximately twenty-five percent of the world's disease burden. Missionaries, colonizers, and -- most recently -- a growing number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have attempted to reduce this disparity and to fight disease. Considerable literature exists on missionary and colonial efforts to improve African health, but NGOs and related organizations generally fail to keep detailed records, do not make documents publicly available, and typically have a very short track record. Only a few of the oldest and largest non-profits that aim to improve human health, including the World Health Organization (WHO), Oxfam, and UNICEF, date back to the 1940s and have undertaken significant initiatives in Africa. Notable exceptions to all of these limitations are the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) and Wellcome Trust.
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