Obama Ends Ban Restricting Entry of HIV-Positive Travelers and Immigrants into the US

A human rights victory emerged from the White House last week when President Obama announced that he would end the ban restricting entry of HIV-positive travelers and immigrants into the US. The 22-year ban, first instated in 1987 when AIDS was thought to spread by respiratory or physical contact, has reinforced barriers to reducing stigma and improving identification and treatment of the disease. The statute has been considered a human…

Two Libyan Prisoners, Two Paradoxical Fates

The recent humanitarian release of Libyan citizen Abdalbaset al-Megrahi from prison in Greenock, Scotland, because of his poor health, and his subsequent “hero’s welcome” in Libya is strikingly incongruous when compared with the tragic fate of Fathi al-Jahmi, a Libyan prisoner who also suffered from poor health, including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes. Libyan authorities held Mr. al-Jahmi prisoner in Tripoli on two occasions for a…

Patients with Borders, Case Study 3

[Editor’s Note: This is the third post in a series of case studies describing the bureaucratic and political barriers to medical access outside of Gaza and the stories of three individual Gazan patients. The first post can be found here, and the second can be found here.] Below is one PHR-Israel case study representing a current trend in the provision of exit permits to Gazans for medical reasons. Case studies…

Beyond the Market: Health Care as a Civil or Human Right?

[Editor’s note: This article is cross-posted from Human Rights Now, the blog of Amnesty International USA.] A dramatic disconnect between principles and policies has hampered current US health care reform efforts. This became obvious when candidate Obama declared health care to be a right and then proceeded to treat it as a commodity when negotiating with insurance companies a requirement for individuals to buy a commercial health insurance product. Similarly,…

Adolescent Health in Rwanda

Adolescents remain a neglected group in Rwanda’s health care model according to a new report on adolescent health by Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Permanent Secretary of Rwanda’s Ministry of Health. While the country’s health care infrastructure has vastly improved since 1994, so that vulnerable groups such as mothers, infants, and people living with HIV/AIDS experience better health outcomes, few efforts focus on behavioral and preventative health care for adolescents. Dr. Binagwaho…

Patients with Borders, Case Study 2

[Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a series of case studies describing the bureaucratic and political barriers to medical access outside of Gaza and the stories of three individual Gazan patients. The first post can be found here. Look for the next case study on Monday, November 2.] Below is one PHR-Israel case study representing a current trend in the provision of exit permits to Gazans for medical…

Patients with Borders

[Editor’s Note: This is the first of three posts covering a series of case studies describing the bureaucratic and political barriers to medical access outside of Gaza, focusing on the stories of three individual Gazan patients. Look for the next case study on Monday, October 26.] The Israeli-imposed border restrictions in Gaza continue to choke off needed medical assistance for Gazan patients. Humanitarian and medical aid can barely squeeze into…

Undercover illness: Interventions needed to detect and treat sickle-cell anemia in Africa

In resource-constrained settings like Kenya, “more than 90% of children with sickle-cell anaemia die before the diagnosis can be made,” most likely due to opportunistic bacterial diseases. Two of the most common infections, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, are preventable or treated readily in developed countries. A recent study published in The Lancet underscores these health inequities suffered by children in sub-Saharan Africa. The report, “Bacteraemia in Kenyan children with…

Self-governance and international treaties

A comment on OpenForum’s August 10th post on the US ratification of the Convention of the Rights of the Child raised several common misconceptions about US policy on such issues. This presented a good opportunity to speak to these perhaps broadly-held concerns. First, the US has long used both international agreements and domestic law to govern its citizens — the US has been and continues to be a party to…

Sexual Violence in the Congo

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by Ms. Katherine Moloney.] Sexual violence against civilian populations during armed conflict is recognized as a deliberate tactic of war, the gravity of which determines whether it is considered a war crime, a crime against humanity, or an element of genocide [see Statute of the International Criminal Court art 7.1(g) and art 8.2(b)(xxii); Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security…