COVID-19 and the access to information conundrum in AfricaPosted: 10 April, 2020 Filed under: Hlengiwe Dube | Tags: Access to Information, barriers, corona virus, COVID-19, data costs, Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, digital divide, disabilities, flatten the curve, girls, indigenous communities, information accessibility, internet, internet access, internet taxation, lockdowns, Model Law on Access to Inofmration in Africa, nationwide crisis management, older persons, Open Government Partnership, pandemic, PWD, right to health, South Africa, women, Zimbabwe 1 Comment
Author: Hlengiwe Dube
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
As the world grapples with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the disease caused by the novel Corona-virus, Africa has not been spared. Although the rate of infection is still lower than the rest of the world, it is rising steadily. Governments across the world have initiated partial or nationwide crisis management measures including curfews, lockdowns, contact tracing, surveillance and testing to curb the spread of the virus, which has been coined as measures to ‘flatten the curve’. For these government-initiated emergency measures to be effective in curbing the spread of the virus, the public must comply with the government regulations. Access to information becomes very essential for the realisation of this objective and by extension other equally essential goals such as achieving the human right to health.
The right to health for refugees in South Africa: Concrete reality or wishful thinking?Posted: 13 December, 2017 Filed under: Cristiano d'Orsi | Tags: 2003 National Health Act, African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, CEDAW, domestic law, health services, healthcare services, ICERD, ICESCR, National Strategic Health Plan, OHCHR, political rights, refugee convention, refugees, right to health, right to health care, SAHRC, socio-economic rights, South Africa, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, xenophobia 1 Comment
Author: Cristiano d’Orsi
Research Fellow and Lecturer at the South African Research Chair in International Law (SARCIL), University of Johannesburg
Scope of the study: How the ‘right to health’ is intended in this work
South Africa (SA) is one of the largest economies in Africa. Since December 2010 the country is a member of the informal association of five major emerging world economies (BRICS) and the only African country to be a member of the G20, the major international forum for economic cooperation and policymaking.
At the end of 2016, SA was reported to be hosting 91,043 refugees.
Although SA has ratified a good number of human rights legal instruments since the end of apartheid, in 1994, , the actual implementation of the rights enshrined in some of them still remain problematic. One such right is the right of refugees to have access to adequate healthcare in the country.
This situation occurs also because access healthcare services in SA, as with many other fundamental rights in the republic, has historically been biased in terms of a number of arbitrary grounds (p. 55).
Banning female circumcision in The Gambia through legislative change: The next stepsPosted: 19 January, 2016 Filed under: Satang Nabaneh | Tags: Africa, Anti-FGM Board, Anti-FGM Prosecution Unit, Domestic Violence Act, female circumcision, female genital mutilation, fgm, harmful traditional practices, Maputo Protocol, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, right to dignity, right to health, Sexual Offences Act, The Gambia, women's rights, Women’s (Amendment) Bill 2015 2 Comments
Author: Satang Nabaneh
Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of The Gambia.
There is nothing more powerful than a decision made at the right time, especially one which is a desideratum. So it was with the ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia. From the coastal village of Brufut, on the chilly night of 24 November 2015, President Jammeh declared a ban on FGM stating that it was a cultural and not a religious practice (that is not to say that the practice would have been justifiable if it was a religious practice, given its well documented harmful effects). The news was as unexpected as it was music to the ear. It was every campaigner’s wish, to see an end to FGM in The Gambia. This was swiftly followed by the passing of the Women’s (Amendment) Bill 2015 by the National Assembly on 2 December 2015 to prohibit female circumcision. The amendment addresses one of the key deficiencies of the Women’s Act 2010 which was the absence of a provision on eliminating harmful traditional practices. The Amendment Act added sections 32A and 32B in the Women’s Act. With the enactment, The Gambia joined a number of African countries in adopting legislation as a reform strategy for ending FGM.
Realising the right to health for children with HIV/AIDS in Botswana: Policy based approach v rights based approachPosted: 13 August, 2013 Filed under: Rashid Dumbuya | Tags: African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of a Child, Botswana, children, Children's Act, constitution, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), HIV/Aids, ICESCR, mother-to-child transmission, public health, Public Health Act, right to health, South Africa, TAC, Treatment Action Campaign 1 Comment
Author: Rashid Dumbuya
LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) candidate, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Barrister and Solicitor, Sierra Leone
Botswana faces significant challenges on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. According to the third Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS III) which took place in 2008, 17.6% of Batswana were living with HIV/AIDS. The survey revealed that about 18 000 children below the age of 19 were HIV positive.
Strong political commitment at national level has however resulted in impressive scale up in HIV treatment for children under the Prevention of Mother-to-child Transmission programme. Children are currently treated in about 33 centres issuing antiretroviral drugs. However, Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence provides a more in-depth pediatric content. There are also community-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Child Line, Mpule Kwelagobe Centre, SOS Children’s Home and Paolo Zanichelli Children’s Centre that are currently providing specialised services to vulnerable children. It is however important to point out that, in Botswana, the needs of HIV/AIDS affected children are not provided for in a comprehensive National legal framework. Care and treatment for children with HIV is currently addressed in overall HIV policy guidelines.
The Zimbabwean government’s measures to address maternal mortality have little prospects of successPosted: 30 July, 2013 Filed under: Linette du Toit | Tags: Abuja Declaration, African Union, CARMMA, constitution, Maputo Protocol, maternal deaths, maternal mortality, public health, reproductive rights, right to health, right to reproductive healthcare services, women, women's rights, Zimbabwe 2 Comments
Author: Linette du Toit
LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) candidate, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa
It is a universal and timeless reality that women face the risk of death in the process of giving life. In recent years, this risk has been virtually eliminated for those who have access to the necessary prenatal care and emergency medical assistance. Contrary to the global trend, Zimbabwe has seen a stark increase in its number of maternal deaths and currently sits with a figure that is 50% higher than the sub-Saharan average.
This state of affairs is not surprising in light of the disintegrated nature of Zimbabwe’s public health system, which reached its lowest point in 2008. At that time, government policies led to the closure of public hospitals and a medical school in Harare. Basic resources and emergency care have not been consistently available and the government’s failure to remunerate healthcare professionals with set salaries left many of them with no choice but to leave the country. The continuing epidemic of deaths which could have been prevented indicates an alarming disregard for a variety of rights and obligations on the part of the Zimbabwean government. Questions arise as to whether the government is taking appropriate measures to address the plight of Zimbabwean women.
Recognising the struggle – Kenya’s award on reproductive health rightsPosted: 21 June, 2013 Filed under: Saoyo Tabitha Griffith | Tags: human rights, Kenya, maternal mortality, Millennium Development Goals, mortality rate, public health, reproductive rights, right to health, women, women's rights 3 Comments
Author: Saoyo Tabitha Griffith
Advocate, High Court of Kenya
Sometime in May 2013, the Republic of Kenya, together with two of her counterparts, Zambia and The Gambia, received the prestigious Resolve Award from the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health. Briefly, the Resolve Award was launched in 2011 as an annual award issued by the Aspen Institute. The Award recognises countries that are surmounting various challenges to bring essential reproductive health services to their people and celebrates progress made by governments towards delivering on the promise of universal access to reproductive health. We must therefore begin by celebrating our nation’s achievement. Indeed, impressing a Council comprising of 18 sitting and former heads of states amongst others, the Honourable Mary Robinson, Her Excellency Joyce Banda, Honourable Gro Harlem, Vice Admiral Regina Benjamin and Honourable Tarja Haloren is by no means an easy step.
The Award comes at an opportune time when mothers all over Kenya are celebrating the reprieve granted by the Jubilee Coalition which on 1 June 2013 issued a directive waiving all fees payable by mothers for maternal services at public health facilities. In recent times, we have in addition seen other efforts by the Kenyan government aimed at transforming access to reproductive health services and lowering maternal mortality. First, there is the constitutional recognition of reproductive health as a fundamental human right under Article 43(1)(a). There is also the enactment of many visionary policies and guidelines, including the National Reproductive Health Policy and the comprehensive Population Policy for National Development which places family planning at the centre of Kenya’s development agenda. Additionally, there is also the Child Survival and Development Strategy and the National Road Map for accelerating the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to maternal and newborn health in Kenya.