Fair Play for Africa – the Right to Health

Same sickness, different response

When we think of poverty and related issues, Africa often comes to mind. We think of the absence of human rights, colonisation, national debt, political strife and insecurity.  “One of the most basic human rights is the right to a basic level of health” says Gerry Forde, Director of the Society of African Missions (SMA) Justice and Peace Desk. “We must avail of every opportunity to reach the ears of Governments and powerful pharmaceutical companies to raise awareness on health issues and particularly the efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.”

The right to health is recognised in International Law and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Tens of millions of people in Africa do not enjoy this right.

The role of many missionary congregations and societies like the SMA is to improve the availability of good quality and affordable medicines, particularly for Africans. They advocate for change that will allow the production and availability of cheaper generic drugs and for the adoption of measures and systems that will ensure quality standards in the production and export of medicines. The freedom of less developed countries to care for the health of their populations should not be limited by adherence to international trade agreements when their provisions, such as the universal adoption of patents,


are detrimental to the realization of the right to health.

An effort to highlight the right to health is Fair Play for Africa, a campaign to mobilise communities to advocate for quality healthcare for all Africans, and to hold their governments accountable for health provision. This campaign was launched at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola in January 2009. Its aim is to ensure universal access to quality health services especially women, children and people living with HIV and AIDS. The aim back then, and the challenge still today, is to achieve universal access through a strengthened, coordinated civil society campaign supported by active and empowered citizens, based in at least twelve focus countries in Africa. To read more and to learn how you can support the campaign, please click here:


God of Love lay your healing hand on all who are sick and most abandoned.
Touch the hearts of those in positions of power
so that they may use their power
to ensure a fairer sharing of quality medicines that can bring healing.

Bless the efforts made in advocacy on behalf of people in poorer countries
who cannot afford to buy the medicines they need.

We ask this in Jesus, Our Healer and Saviour.


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