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Tackling the global post-code lottery: new research explores how law can help tackle health epidemics

Research from the University of Warwick is set to improve global health by helping lawyers to think more strategically about the ways in which the law can be used to improve access to life-saving medicines.

In a new book launched this week, Dr Sharifah Sekalala from the School of Law evaluates the different legal approaches that have been taken to improve global access to essential medicines.

book coverUsing compelling case studies including the campaign for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, and the fight against malaria and tuberculosis, Soft Law and Global Health Problems explores lawmaking on global health and analyses the viability of current global health financing trends within new and traditional organisations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, UNITAID and The Global Fund.

authorDr Sekalala said: “I wrote this book for the millions of people for whom essential AIDS medicines came too late to save them. We need to act faster in the case of future epidemics and I hope that this book helps lawyers to think more strategically about the actions we can take.”

“Almost two billion people still lack access to essential medicines, I was interested in thinking about how we can use law in order to close this gap. I looked at how what lawyers call ‘Soft Law’ can be easier, quicker and more responsive in enabling countries to reach agreement during health crises.”

“I was struck by the fact that there was a global post code lottery. If you had AIDS in the developed world you got to live a normal life. If you were born in a poor country like Uganda, you died because essential medicines for diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are too expensive for millions of people in the developing world.”

Dr Sekalala’s book will be launched at Warwick Law School on 24 November 2017.

The launch event will also feature Professor Paul Hunt from the University of Essex, an internationally known scholar and activist who was the first UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health. He has recently turned his attention to access to health in the UK, and his new report, Social rights are human rights but the UK system is rigged, will be launched alongside Dr Sekalala’s book.

23 November 2017


Soft Law and Global Health Problems: Lessons from Responses to HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis is published by Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 9781107049529

Social Rights are Human Rights – but the UK System is Rigged is published by The Centre for Welfare Reform.

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About the author:

Sharifah Sekalala's research focuses on the intersection of global health law with international law. She is also interested in the way in which global health programs affect developing countries. Her current research project focuses on how we can achieve better global health outcomes through international institutions and human rights. She has also looked at global health financing for AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis how minority and discriminated groups are represented in the of health governance of developing countries.





Sheila Kiggins,

Media Relations Manager, Social Science

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