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Open Access Genomics, Insurance and Human Rights: Is there a Place for Regulatory Frameworks in Africa?

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Genomics, Insurance and Human Rights: Is there a Place for Regulatory Frameworks in Africa?

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This article examines the human rights dimension of genetic discrimination in Africa, exploring the place of regulatory frameworks while taking into account the disadvantaged position of the average African. This is in response to the tendency of insurance companies toward making health insurance decisions on the basis of individual genetic information, which could result in genetic discrimination or health insurance discrimination based on a person's genetic profile. The author considers such questions as the intersection between human rights (right to life, health, privacy, human dignity and against genetic discrimination) in relation to the insurance industry, as well as the obligations of state and non-state actors to promote, respect, and protect the enjoyment of these rights. The article argues that African nations should not stand aloof in trying to balance the competing interests (scientific, economic and social) presented by the use of genetic information in the health care context and that ultimately it is the responsibility of states to develop domestic policies to protect their most vulnerable citizens and to prevent entrenched private discrimination based on an individual's genes.


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