African Conversations Series

The African Conversations Series is a regular monthly talk series held by the Africa Institute to keep conversations going on key and pertinent African topics. A talk will be held each month with a flexible format, featuring panels, single speakers, workshops, among others; in essence, it will be a forum for presenting contemporary African and African Diaspora topics. 

The African Conversations Series will feature both internal and external speakers, who will cover a wide variety of topics, subjects, and disciplines. These conversations will be open to anyone interested in attending at no extra cost to improve engagement and encourage knowledge exchange between Africa Institute members and African partners.

Below you can find the relevant information for our upcoming talks! 

Upcoming African Conversations Series

"Biomedical engineering in low-resource settings (LRSs)"

September 30, 2021; 1:00 - 2:30 pm EDT


The United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals are based on the principle of “leaving no one behind”. In particular, SDG3 focuses on Health and Wellbeing, striving for equitable healthcare access, worldwide. Notwithstanding, the actual situation is still far from being equitable. Although most of the world’s population is treated in low-income countries, only a small oligarchy of high-income countries rules the medical device market, setting and following de facto standards and minimum requirements, which do not take into consideration the scarcity of resources and the harsh conditions of low-resource settings. This mismatch hinders the safe and efficient functioning of medical devices, jeopardizing the life of patients and healthcare workers.

In this context, the Applied Biomedical Signal Processing Intelligent eHealth Lab (ABSPIE) has been working on several projects since 2016, to assess the main challenges and conditions of local medical devices and locations, in South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Benin. These studies informed the creation of a framework for assessing medical locations in low-resource settings, for designing medical devices resilient to low-resource settings, and several frugal designs of medical devices. This webinar will give an overview of the ABSPIE Lab experience in Africa, with a specific focus on clinical and biomedical engineering, and ethics.

Panelist(s) for the upcoming African Conversations Series
Andrew Walsh faculty photo

Professor Leandro Pecchia, PhD

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Director for the Applied Biomedical Signal Processing and Intelligent eHealth (ABSPIE) Lab

Director of Studies for the MSc in Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Conventry, UK


Past Conversation Series

June 2021

"Identifying and explaining shifts in FGM/C through Bayesian multivariate analyses of household survey data for Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal"

Dr. Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala (Distinguished Professor of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Witwatersrand & Visiting Professor of Health Technology Assessment, University of Warwick), Dr. Ava John-Baptiste (Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and of Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University), and Dr. Janet Martin (Associate Professor of Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine and of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University)

Video can be accessed here

May 2021


"How equipped is Africa to tackle the wicked problem of road traffic injuries?"

Dr. Melecki Khayesi, Technical Officer, World Health Organization
Video can be accessed here

April 2021

" Education as a Social and Economic Game Changer"

Dr. Teresiah Wambui Gathenya (Senior Education Advisor for USAID Liberia), Hannah Nungari (Youth Advocate), Daniel Mwangi (Youth Advocate), 
Video can be accessed here
A few testimonials from the April talk:

"What a rich legacy you have imparted in these young people, education indeed is transformative. I could feel their passion in what they [Hannah and Daniel] are doing to give back to society. As Nungari put it, you do not have a granary to share. Very inspiring indeed." (Ms. Francisca Opondo, former Senior Assistant Director in the Ministry of Education Kenya).  

"Such students should be left to learn free." (Ms. Miriam Mwirotsi, Former Director of Education in the Ministry of Education, Kenya) 

"Wow! That was inspirational. I liked Nungari's positivity. Both the young participants will go far."(Ms. Beatrice Kamau from Nungari's home village).

March 2021

Ebenezer Martin-Yeboah, " Young men and sexual health literacy: A social network analysis", PhD Candidate in Health Information Sciences, Faculty of Information and Media Studies
Florence Wullo Anfaara, " The Internal Logics of Gender Equality in Liberia: The case of women in Peace Huts", PhD Candidate in Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies, Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Jason Were, " The Double Burden of Malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa", PhD Candidate in Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Video can be accessed here