n African Human Rights Law Journal - The human right to health in Africa and its challenges : a critical analysis of Millennium Development Goal 8

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



This article seeks to locate the right to health within the broader frameworks of socio-economic development and political governance. It identifies two critical factors as fundamentally responsible for the dismal state of health and well-being of Africans, despite a robust regional human rights regime that explicitly proclaims health as a human right. First, there is a lack of access to health services - the result of spiralling and crippling poverty amongst the general population. Second, governments in the region are either unwilling or unable to come to the aid of people in their jurisdictions. These unmet challenges ground the need for international intervention, an instance of which is the establishing of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). MDG 8 explicitly requires international co-operation and recognises that without enormous assistance, poor countries would be unable to attain the various benchmarks of the MDGs. However, although MDG 8 could have a transformative impact on health in Africa, given its potential to supply the missing link in the struggle toward improving population health (resources), there are structural and operational difficulties that could undermine this possibility. The article critically analyses these difficulties and offers suggestions on how to surmount them.

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