The Human Right to Health in Africa and its Challenges: A Critical Analysis of Millennium Development Goal 8
21 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2013
Date Written: June 21, 2012
This paper seeks to advance human rights scholarship by locating the right to health within the broader frameworks of socioeconomic development and political governance. It identifies two critical factors as fundamentally responsible for the dismal state of health and wellbeing of Africans despite an extant robust regional human rights regime that explicitly proclaims health as a human right. First, there is lack of access to health services – the result of spiraling and crippling poverty amongst the general population. Second, a plurality of governments in the region is either unwilling or unable to come to the aid of the people within their respective jurisdictions. These unmet challenges ground the need for international intervention, an instance of which is the compact establishing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). One of them – MDG 8 – which explicitly requires international cooperation, recognizes that, without enormous assistance, poor countries would be unable to attain the various benchmarks of the MDGs. But although MDG 8 could have transformative impact on health in Africa, given its potential to supply the missing link in the struggle toward improving population health (resources), there are structural and operational difficulties that could undermine this possibility. This paper critically analyzes these difficulties and offers suggestions on how to surmount them.
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