chapter  23
9 Pages

The Right to Health and the Nevirapine Case in South Africa

Thanks to activists in South Africa, the right to health as a human right has returned to the international stage, just as it was being displaced by economists who see health through the prism of a globalized economy and by politicians who see it as an issue of national security or charity. The current post-apartheid debate in South Africa is not about race but about health, and in this context, the court victory by AIDS activists in the nevirapine case has been termed not only, as stated in one British newspaper, “the greatest defeat for [President Thabo] Mbeki’s government” but also the opening of “legitimate criticism” of the government “over a host of issues from land rights to the pursuit of wealth.”1 Using the nevirapine case as a centerpiece, I will explore the power of the human right to health in improving health generally.