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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

September 28, 2020  USA/Global: Millions Displaced by US Post-9/11 Wars http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/disp2009.php
    “Wartime displacement (alongside war deaths and injuries) must be central to any analysis of the post-9/11 wars and their short- and long-term consequences. Displacement also must be central to any possible consideration of the future use of military force by the United States or others. Ultimately, displacing 37 million—and perhaps as many as 59 million—raises the question of who bears responsibility for repairing the damage inflicted on those displaced.” - Brown University Costs of War Project

September 23, 2020  USA/Global: Overhauling U.S. Foreign Policy http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/usa2009.php
    The most consequential election year in most of our lifetimes has featured stark crises unspooling against a backdrop of vigorous activist mobilizations and simmering public outrage. While the first essential step for progressives is to prevent the reelection of President Trump, that will not be enough. We need fundamental change rather than a return to the status quo ante.

August 24, 2020  USA/Global: Divest from Violent Policing and Endless Wars, Part One http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/viol2008-1.php
    The notion of policing as a war, in which more lethal force will lead to more security, is not a recent development, but is deeply rooted in U.S. history. The police and the military share the country’s legacy of white supremacy and violence against racial others, which has also given rise to mob and individual violence by white civilians. Both domestic law enforcement and the conduct of foreign wars continue to reflect the history of conquest, slavery, and U.S. empire of earlier centuries.

August 24, 2020  USA/Global: Divest from Violent Policing and Endless Wars, Part Two http://www.africafocus.org/docs20/viol2008-2.php
    The notion of policing as a war, in which more lethal force will lead to more security, is not a recent development, but is deeply rooted in U.S. history. The police and the military share the country’s legacy of white supremacy and violence against racial others, which has also given rise to mob and individual violence by white civilians. Both domestic law enforcement and the conduct of foreign wars continue to reflect the history of conquest, slavery, and U.S. empire of earlier centuries.

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  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.

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

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).

Complete listing of bulletins on health, 2003-present

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