A vote for the World’s health, absent from the headlines

Vote FCGHA vote for the world’s health, absent from the headlines

10 November 2016

The World Health Organization process of selecting a new director-general moves into high gear this week. As the U.S. presidential election has held global attention for much of 2016, this is likely the most important vote the world isn’t watching. We cannot afford to ignore the WHO leadership choice, which comes in the midst of a global health crisis.

That crisis is the ongoing epidemic of health inequalities. It is an emergency that lurks beneath the headlines, existing instead in the daily realities of vast portions of the world’s population. We come from two countries, South Africa and Bangladesh, where our governments and civil society are making tremendous efforts to improve the health of our people. We have seen important strides, including scaling up HIV/AIDS treatment in South Africa and unprecedented progress in child and maternal health in Bangladesh.

Yet we continue to see snapshots of huge global inequalities of health on a regular basis. In a sprawling township outside Cape Town, many residents live in wood, tin, and plastic shacks, with toilets far and few between. The latrines are often unusable and, even when functioning, unsafe for women and children to access. In isolated parts of Bangladesh, meanwhile, it is still not unusual for a woman to give birth on the dirt floor of her own home without any trained personnel present.

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FCGH: Addressing Frequently Raised Issues

FCGH IssuesThe Framework Convention on Global Health: Addressing Frequently Raised Issues

May 2016
Issues in this article:
1 The FCGH can build on existing treaties that codify the right to health to better implement rights-based approaches to health;
2 The value of the FCGH as a binding legal instrument;
3 The FCGH could complement other tools to address systematic governance issues;
4 The feasibility of the FCGH;
5 The need for an ambitious treaty;
6 Connections between the FCGH and other international law;
7 The FCGH would add to the current response to global health priorities;
8 The FCGH would build on and relate to existing accountability mechanisms, particularly human rights and SDG accountability mechanisms, and would include measures to help achieve impact at country level;
9 Possible FCGH mechanisms and institutional set-up;
10 Models of treaties that the FCGH could draw from.

The FCGH can build on existing treaties that codify the right to health to better implement rights-based approaches to health.

The FCGH intends to complement and reinforce strategies and tools to implement the right to health, not replace them. The FCGH could open new possibilities to advancing the right to health and speeding its implementation, and by so doing, closing unconscionable gaps in national and global health equity by:

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