Global health justice: A perspective from the global South on a Framework Convention on Global Health

Lawrence O Gostin, Ames Dhai


A global coalition of civil society and academics recently launched the Joint Action and Learning Initiative on National and Global Responsibilities for Health (JALI), which is developing a post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework for global health. The Framework Convention proposes establishing fair terms of international co-operation, with agreed-upon mutually binding obligations to create enduring health system capacities, meet basic survival needs, and reduce unconscionable inequalities in global health. States that bear a disproportionate burden of disease have the least capacity to do anything about it. The richer states are deeply resistant to expending the political capital and economic resources. When they do act, it is often more out of narrow self-interest or humanitarian instinct than a full sense of ethical or legal obligation. The result is a spiralling deterioration of health in the poorest regions, with manifest global consequences and systemic effects on trade, international relations, and security.

Authors' affiliations

Lawrence O Gostin, O’Neill Institute on National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center, Professor of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University and Director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights

Ames Dhai, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

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global health; unconscionable inequalities; basic survival needs

Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2012;5(1):33-37.

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-03-23
Date published: 2012-06-14

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