COVID – 19 PANDEMIC: THE IMPERATIVE FOR STATES TO RETHINK THEIR APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL HEALTH RIGHTS

Author- Victor Obinna Chukwuma

Volume 1 Issue 1 (2020)

It has become clearer, at least with the already witnessed far reaching impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, that health is a subject of both national and international concern. The high level of national and international emergency response to the pandemic is unprecedented and praiseworthy. However, it is incontrovertible that the pandemic has succeeded in evaluating or
probing the alertness, readiness and commitment of States as regards their obligations to protect, respect and fulfil the rights to health of their citizens. This paper examines the status of health as a human right and finds inter alia that notwithstanding terminological contestations of scholars, the right to health is clearly recognized in international law and has been expatiated
by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its Comment No. 14. It is however worrisome that most States do not recognize the right as basic or binding.

While the States hinge on their stance on the fact that they do not have enough economic resources to guarantee the right, this paper submits that it is rather a lack of political will and unchecked neoliberalistic forces that accentuate the growing relegation of governmental responsibilities as it relates to the right to health. This research further finds that beyond national commitment, there is a need for increased international cooperation and assistance, going forward. International bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the World Health Organization, etc, are to cooperate with the States especially developing States and ensure that their policies promote universal health care goals. It is hoped that after the containment of the coronavirus pandemic, all countries will intensify individual commitment and international cooperation efforts in pursuing the full realization of the health rights of their Citizens.

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