Law enforcement and public health collaborations and partnerships in Africa


  • Munyaradzi I. Katumba Stitching Aidsfonds, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, COC Netherlands, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Centre for Law Enforcement and Public Health, Sydney, Australia.



policing, key populations, rule of law, abortion, vulnerable groups


Though not high profile, collaborations and partnerships between law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and public health organizations do exist across Africa. Law enforcement and public health (LEPH) partnerships have been common, but not necessarily optimum, in responses to epidemics such as sexually transmissible infections, tuberculosis, and malaria, and pandemics such as HIV/AIDS and COVID-19. There are some such collaborations in responses to gender-based violence (GBV), particular socio-economic problems and challenges, counter-insurgency and terrorism (when it happens within civilian spaces), to address issues of rape, disease and death. Leadership in development of such approaches comes from a wide range: local and national governments, law enforcement agents, CSOs, regional economic bodies and United Nations agencies. They have also a wide range of success and sustainability. There are examples of excellent collaboration in partnerships with long histories and experience of working together, especially among those that have established common goals aimed at local, national and global health outcomes. However, antagonisms also exist between civil society organizations (CSOs) and LEAs, with CSOs placing blame on law enforcement agents for harms caused, and with LEAs perceiving CSOs as enemies of the state because of their work with and advocacy for the rights of culturally or politically taboo or sensitive matters, such as sex work or homosexuality. Not uncommonly, partnerships have not been formed; or where they have formed but have failed to achieve consensus and joint results, have collapsed. Much more needs to be done at all levels to achieve effective, humane and sustained joined-up responses to difficult public health issues in the African context.



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How to Cite

Katumba, M. I. (2022). Law enforcement and public health collaborations and partnerships in Africa. Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being, 7(Suppl_1), S28-S33.