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A global coalition of civil society and academics recently launched the Joint Action and Learning Initiative on National and Global Responsibilities for Health (JALI), which is developing a post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework for global health. JALI’s mission is the achievement of a global health treaty based on the right to health—a Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH). The FCGH proposes establishing fair terms of international co-operation, with agreed-upon mutually binding obligations to create enduring health system capacities, meet basic survival needs, and reduce unconscionable inequalities in global health. States that bear a disproportionate burden of disease have the least capacity to do anything about it. The richer states are deeply resistant to expending the political capital and economic resources. When they do act, it is often more out of narrow self-interest or humanitarian instinct than a full sense of ethical or legal obligation. The result is a spiraling deterioration of health in the poorest regions, with manifest global consequences and systemic effects on trade, international relations, and security.

The very concept of global health justice as conceived by JALI and the FCGH is to have the global campaign led by civil society, with the major conceptualization and advocacy coming from the Global South. This paper presents the African, particularly South African, perspective on global health justice.

Publication Citation

5 S. Afr. J. Bioethics & L. 33-37 (2012)