- About HHR
Published November 5, 2013
We are writing to support the claim made by Mpinga et al. in their article Traditional/alternative medicines and the right to health: Key elements for a Convention on Global Health. In their discussion of the strengths and challenges associated with the use of “non-conventional medicines” (NCMs), the authors describe such therapies as being not only “cultural products, vectors of knowledge, but also a form of connection among people in the society.”
We agree with the authors’ claim that NCMs play a crucial role in maintaining communities. This rings especially true for societies in developing countries affected by globalization. One of the changes associated with globalization is an increased role for free markets and private actors (e.g. corporations, individual entrepreneurs, etc.), and a reduced role for governments in policymaking and public spending (e.g. health, housing, education, etc.).1
In most low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) with poor health indicators, this means that the primary entity with a legal obligation to develop and maintain a nation’s health infrastructure (i.e. the government) is becoming less rather than more involved with addressing national health problems in a systematic way.2 Therefore, underserved communities must look for alternative means of addressing their health challenges. Because NCMs are in widespread use and rarely rely on government investment, it is crucial (as the authors argue) that any serious global health strategy integrate them, even if there remain challenges regarding their safety, efficacy, and regulation. The challenges notwithstanding, including NCMs in a global health treaty not only improves health outcomes but also strengthens communities that face declining government health expenditures.
Ibrahim Garba, MA, JD, LLM, is Satcher Health Policy Leadership Fellow at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Nicolas Bakinde, MD, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Please address correspondence to the authors c/o Ibrahim Garba, Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Louis W. Sullivan National Center for Primary Care, Suite 238, Morehouse School of Medicine, 720 Westview Drive SW, Atlanta, GA 30310. Email: email@example.com.
1. World Health Organization, 25 Questions and Answers on Health & Human Rights (Geneva: WHO, July 2002), p. 26. Available at http://www.who.int/hhr/information/25%20Questions%20and%20Answers%20on%20Health%20and%20Human%20Rights.pdf.
2. United Nations, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), Article 12. Available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx.
Papers In Press
Europe’s Shifting Response to HIV/AIDS: From Human Rights to Risk Management
HIV, Hepatitis C, TB, Harm Reduction, and Persons Deprived of Liberty: What Standards Does International Human Rights Law Establish?
Gen Sander and Rick Lines
International Human Rights and the Mistreatment of Women during Childbirth
Rajat Khosla, Christina Zampas, Joshua P. Vogel, Meghan A. Bohren, Mindy Roseman, and Joanna N. Erdman
HIV and the Right to Health in Colombia
Corey Prachniak-Rincón and Jimena Villar de Onís
Transforming Policy into Justice: The Role of Health Advocates in Mozambique
Ellie Feinglass, Nadja Gomes, and Vivek Maru
Reproductive Health Policy in Tunisia: Women's Right to Reproductive Health and Gender Empowerment
Nada Amroussia, Alison Hernandez, and Isabel Goicolea
Letter to the Editor: Moving the Debate Forward in Right to Health Litigation
Octavio Luiz Motta Ferraz
Letter to the Editor Response: On the Heterogeneity and Politics of the Judicialization of Health in Brazil
João Biehl, Mariana P. Socal, Joseph J. Amon
Terminal Patients and the Right to Refuse Medical Treatment in Argentina
Martín Hevia and Daniela Schnidrig
Book review: Advancing Global Health and Human Rights in this Neoliberal Era
Harvard FXB Health and Human Rights Consortium Student Essay Competition:
Human Rights, Law and Abortion in El Salvador
Lessons from Jonathan Mann: The Ten Commandments on Multidrug-Resistant TB
Health and Human Rights on TwitterMy Tweets