How do we understand the public character of public health in contemporary Africa? What are the parameters of community engagement in health care delivery, medical research and disease control programmes? To what extent is public health in Africa a project led by African Governments? Through what political processes and deliberative practices can African publics influence the priorities of research in health sciences and interventions which aim in broad terms to improve the health of such publics?
Drawing insight from empirical research conducted with African scientists, nurses, community members, clinical trialists and policy-makers, this special section examines the multiple ways in which the public comes into being around public health provisioning and investigation in sub-Saharan Africa, its role and political reach.