Realizing the Right to Health of People Living with Podoconiosis Lessons from the Field

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Kidus Meskele


Podoconiosis, right to health, human rights, Ethiopia


Podoconiosis is endemic non-filarial elephantiasis which affects people who walk
barefoot on irritant clay soils for many years. A significant number of people are living with
the disease in Ethiopia and other parts of the world. Despite the disease being a cause and
consequence of illness and poverty, little attention was given to the disease from the right to
health angle in Ethiopia. Although the Constitution of Ethiopia does not explicitly recognize
the right to health, Ethiopia has ratified international and regional human rights instruments
which guarantee the right to health as a fundamental human right. In particular, this article
explores gaps in implementation of the right to health of people living with podoconiosis
based on lessons from field observation.

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