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Health as a Human Right

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Talking Points on Health as a Human Right

We All Must Respond to Ebola
Statement by US-Africa Network, September 19, 2014

Ebola center in Sierra Leone. National and international efforts to stop the spread of the epidemic have been insufficient to contain it. Photo credits: ©EC/ECHO/Cyprien Fabre.

Recent bulletins on Health

August 3, 2020  Africa/Global: Preventing the Next Pandemic http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/zoo2008.php
    “COVID-19 is just one example of the rising trend of diseases – from Ebola to MERS to West Nile and Rift Valley fevers – caused by viruses that have jumped from animal hosts into the human population. … The rising trend in zoonotic diseases is driven by the degradation of our natural environment – through land degradation, wildlife exploitation, resource extraction, climate change, and other stresses.” - Press release from UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi, July 6, 2020

July 20, 2020  South Africa: Covid-19 Response Failing; How to Do Better http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/sa2007.php
    “Covid-19 is a crisis on a crisis – it is a health crisis on top of existing social, economic and political crises in SA. Every faultline is exposed: those with food security, and those who go hungry; those with jobs and the unemployed; those with water and sanitation and those without; those who drive cars and those in crowded public transport; those in well-resourced schools with small classes and those in overcrowded, under-resourced schools; those who use private health care and those who wait in long queues outside under-resourced rural and township clinics.” - Statement by members of the C19 People’s Coalition Health Task Force

June 8, 2020  Africa/Global: Thinking Post-Covid-19 http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/post2006.php
    “Calls for debt relief—or more timid debt service moratorium—are drops in the ocean. Something much more ambitious and radical should be envisaged. This crisis allows us to think big. … [F]or these exceptional times, we need exceptional solutions. This virus does offer Africa an opportunity to exercise agency and embark on a more robust structural transformation process. Building on the gains of the last few years and the resilience of its population, there will probably be no better time to fast-track change.” - Carlos Lopes, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

June 8, 2020  USA/Global: Racial Pandemic and Viral Pandemic http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/pan2006.php
    The twin pandemics of racism and coronavirus are colliding, in reality and in metaphor. Anti-racism scholar Ibram X. Kendi writes in the Atlantic of “the racial pandemic within the viral pandemic.” And the meme of “America's two deadly viruses” has gone viral on Twitter. But while one is a literal (and new) virus and the other an endemic condition that has persisted over centuries, the scope of each spans the range from local communities to the entire planet.

May 12, 2020  USA/Global: Contesting Health and Workers' Rights http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/rights2005.php
    The global Covid-19 pandemic has made clear that the right to health is not just an aspirational value. Suddenly, it’s a matter of desperate self-interest for everyone, except, perhaps, those insulated by enormous wealth. The same is true for the rights of workers in the United States and worldwide: their work and their consumer power are indispensable to a global economy facing recession. The current crisis thus presents an opportunity to expand the recognition and exercise of these pivotal rights, accelerating efforts that were already underway before the virus hit. But all too predictably, these efforts are running up against stubborn resistance from forces that benefit (or think they benefit) from the status quo.

April 27, 2020  Africa/Global: Pandemic Mobilization amid High Vulnerability http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/covid19d.php
    At a continental level as well as in almost all African countries, African institutions mobilized quickly in response to the pandemic. In most countries, the pandemic response so far has been encouraging in terms of buying time by flattening the curve, although implementation of lockdowns has been marred by human rights abuses by security forces and insufficient funding for support to those already economically vulnerable to loss of income. A minority of countries, including Tanzania, Burundi, Cameroon, and Madagascar, seem to be emulating the denial and delay pattern previously followed by the United States and the United Kingdom.

April 13, 2020  Mozambique: Cumulative Shocks, Local and Global http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/moz2004.php
    As of April 10, Mozambique had registered only 20 cases of covid-19, and was carrying out an active program of screening, testing, and contact tracing for all entering the country. The success of containment was still fragile, however. In addition, 10 of the tests were traced to a worker at the multinational natural gas company Total in Cabo Delgado province, in the far northeast. In that same province, reminding us that the pandemic comes on the top of other urgent crises, jihadist insurgents are now expanding their offensive and extending their attacks inland.

April 2, 2020  Africa: Covid-19, New Africa-Specific Links http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/covid19c.php
    This AfricaFocus Bulletin is very short, with no long articles, but only a selection of new links that I think very useful and important to share widely. Many of you have shared previous Bulletins, and I hope that you will also share this (and/or the links you find most useful).

March 26, 2020  Africa/Global: Coronavirus Reflections and Updates http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/covid19b.php
    Like the climate crisis and economic inequality, the COVID-19 pandemic may not at first glance seem to be a “foreign policy” issue. But it powerfully points up the need to forge a global perspective – and global alliances – without delay. Progressives must lead the way, and the coronavirus is an immediate opportunity to change the way we think to always recognize domestic and global realities as intertwined. Both self-interest and moral values make this imperative.

March 16, 2020  Africa/Global: Coronavirus Updates http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/covid19.php
    On March 15, President Ramaphosa of South Africa declared coronavirus to be a national disaster, and a Science magazine report from Cape Town called the virus a “ticking timebomb” for the African continent. African countries gained a window of opportunity in which to hold off the onslaught, thanks to their relative isolation from international air traffic and their smart preparations based on experience with Ebola. But it appears this window may now be closing.

October 28, 2019  Africa/Global: Untapped Potential for Africa Climate Actions http://www.africafocus.org/docs19/clim1910.php
    From off-grid solar home systems (SHS) to utility-scale solar and wind installations, the potential for major advances in use of renewable energy is growing rapidly on the African continent. If this potential is materialized at a faster pace, Africa countries could contribute significantly to mitigating the global climate crisis. This would also reduce the ongoing damage to the environmental health of their citizens, whether from kerosene lamps in rural areas or massive coal pollution in South Africa.

September 12, 2019  South Africa: Spotlight on Gender-based Violence http://www.africafocus.org/docs19/sa1909b.php
    “Our nation is in mourning and pain. Over the past few days, our country has been deeply traumatised by acts of extreme violence perpetrated by men against women and children. These acts of violence have made us doubt the very foundation of our democratic society, our commitment to human rights and human dignity, to equality, to peace and to justice. … Violence against women has become more than a national crisis. It is a crime against our common humanity.” - President Cyril Ramaphosa, September 5, 2019

Complete listing of bulletins on health, 2003-present

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