Addressing Inequity: Neglected Tropical Diseases and Human Rights

Nina Sun and Joseph J. Amon Abstract Twenty neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are currently recognized by the World Health Organization. They affect over one billion people globally and are responsible for significant morbidity, mortality, poverty, and social stigmatization. In May 2013, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution calling on member states to intensify efforts to address NTDs, with the goal of reaching previously established targets for the elimination or…

FOREWORD Embodying Law and Embedding Public Health with the Voices of Those Affected: Ending NTDs by 2030

Alice Cruz In the mid-nineteenth century, when public health was establishing itself as a scientific field, the great physician-scientist Rudolph Virchow wrote, “Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing more than medicine on a larger scale.”[1] With this statement, Virchow highlighted the interplay between human health and society. A century and a half later, the looping effect—that is, the fundamental relationship between society and health, between culture and…

EDITORIAL “Equipping Practitioners”: Linking Neglected Tropical Diseases and Human Rights

Joseph J. Amon and David G. Addiss In 2007, Paul Hunt, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, and colleagues published a report entitled Neglected Diseases: A Human Rights Analysis. In introducing the report, the authors wrote: The human rights implications of neglected diseases, and the contribution that human rights can make to addressing neglected diseases, have not been given the attention they deserve. This report aims…

A Human Right to Shoes? Establishing Rights and Duties in the Prevention and Treatment of Podoconiosis

Arianne Shahvisi, Enguday Meskele, and Gail Davey  Abstract Podoconiosis is a debilitating chronic swelling of the foot and lower leg caused by long-term exposure to irritant red volcanic clay soil in the highland regions of Africa, Central America, and India. In this paper, we consider the human rights violations that cause, and are caused by, podoconiosis in Ethiopia. Specifically, we discuss the way in which the right to an adequate…

Access to Justice in Health Matters: An Analysis Based on the Monitoring Mechanisms of the Inter-American System

Laura Pautassi Abstract This article analyzes how states are complying with their periodic reporting obligations under the Protocol of San Salvador (PSS) in one specific area: access to justice as a key component of the right to health. The sources of information for this analysis are seven reports submitted by the States parties, together with the observations and final recommendations made by the experts of the monitoring mechanism of the…

Evolving the Right to Health: Rethinking the Normative Response to Problems of Judicialization

Keith Syrett Abstract Judicial readings of the right to health—and related rights—frequently possess something of an “all or nothing” quality, exhibiting either straightforward deference to allocative choices or conceptualizing the right as absolute, with consequent disruption to health systems, as witnessed in Latin America. This article seeks to identify pathways through which a normatively intermediate approach might be developed that would accord weight to rights claims without overlooking the scarcity…

Expanding the Debate: Citizen Participation for the Implementation of the Right to Health in Brazil

Regiane Garcia Abstract Brazil has established a well-known constitutional right to health. Legal scholars have focused largely on one aspect of this right: the role of the courts in enforcing health care access. Less attention has been paid to another aspect: citizens’ right to participate in health planning. Participation is a constituent component of Brazil’s right to health that is intended to guarantee accountability and fair resource distribution for improved…

Building Trust through Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination: A Platform to Address Social Exclusion and Human Rights in the Dominican Republic

Hunter Keys, Manuel Gonzales, Madsen Beau De Rochars, Stephen Blount, and Gregory S. Noland Abstract Hispaniola, the Caribbean island that includes the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR), accounts for 90% of lymphatic filariasis (LF) in the Americas. Both countries have committed to LF elimination by 2020. In the DR, LF occurs mainly in bateyes, or company towns that historically hosted migrant laborers from Haiti. A legacy of…

Emotional Difficulties and Experiences of Stigma Among Persons with Lymphatic Filariasis in Plateau State, Nigeria

Jibril Abdulmalik, Emeka Nwefoh, James Obindo, Samuel Dakwak, Motunrayo Ayobola, John Umaru, Elisha Samuel, Christopher Ogoshi, and Julian Eaton Introduction Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a chronic and disfiguring condition that can lead to significant disability.1 Global estimates project that infection with the filarial parasite, which causes LF, is present in at least 120 million persons, with about 40 million people exhibiting clinical symptoms and signs.2 Thus, the condition is now…

Cultural Rights and First Nations Health Care in Canada

Stephen Wilmot Abstract In this paper, I apply Kymlicka’s theory of cultural rights to the health care of Canada’s First Nations, within the framework of human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples, as formulated by the United Nations. I extend Kymlicka’s concept of cultural rights into a specific right to culturally appropriate health care, and I consider how this right can be categorized. I also explore how far the…