Mandela’s Associations With Global Health ‘Broad And Deep’

A Lancet editorial reflects on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5 at age 95. “Mandela was such an important figure in the history of the struggle, not only for justice and freedom, but also for the right to health,” the editorial writes. The Lancet quotes a speech Mandela delivered at the Rivonia Trial in April of 1964, in which he discussed the relationship between poverty and disease, and the editorial notes “Mandela’s associations with global health are broad and deep,” highlighting his AIDS work. “With characteristic insight, Mandela also saw that the impact of AIDS on Africa was simply the signal of a larger challenge: one of economic, educational, and political inequality. And he came to embody that challenge.” The editorial concludes, “It is unimaginable that any future history of the global struggle for human health and equity will not hold, in pride of place, the name, and the courage, of Nelson Mandela” (12/14).