Dickson Tapela v The Attorney General: Towards a right to health for prisoners in Botswana

Godsglory Ogechukwu Ifezue


On the 22nd August 2014 the High Court delivered yet another ground breaking judgment condemning the government’s health policy that excluded non-citizen inmates from the Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). The government was ordered to enrol the Applicants and other non-citizen inmates whose CD4 cell count has reached the threshold for HAART enrolment under the treatment guidelines on HAART. In this case note, the decision of the court will be interrogated, with regard to its strengths and weaknesses. In the first section the facts of the case will be set out. The second section will then deal with the ratio of the case. The case dealt with certain procedural points which are not directly relevant to the subject of the prisoner’s right to health and these points will not be set out in this article. The third section will situate the court’s approach and ratio within the broader international framework of prisoner’s health right. In this section, the strengths and weaknesses of the case will be dealt with. The fourth section and last section the note concludes by observing the groundbreaking nature of this decision.

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