oa ESR Review : Economic and Social Rights in South Africa - Universality of the right to the highest attainable standard of health; but whose responsibility? The Ebola crisis in Africa : feature
Four decades after the discovery of Ebola, the highest outbreak in history is currently under way and has caused the death of 2 296 people in nine months (WHO Ebola Response Team, 2014:1). Ebola is the deadliest disease: fatality rates are up to 90% (WHO fact sheet no. 103).
The current outbreak in West Africa is a serious test of the capacity of the affected states and the international community to guarantee the right to the highest attainable standard of health to the most affected population. The responsiveness of the affected states and the international community to the current Ebola outbreak is the topic of this paper. It revisits the states' obligations under international law to guarantee the right to health in the context of epidemics and diseases. Then, drawing on the reports of health organisations, affected states and the media, it assesses the interventions made by the states and the international community in line with their obligations to realise the right to health. Lastly, it calls for the rethinking of global cooperation in order to prevent such a loss of life from occurring again.
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