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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 158-159

Joining hands for the right to health: An appeal to stakeholders

1 Department of Community Medicine, Vice Principal Curriculum, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Pondicherry, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Pondicherry, India

Date of Submission20-Apr-2019
Date of Decision30-Apr-2019
Date of Acceptance05-May-2019
Date of Web Publication18-Oct-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/SHB.SHB_19_19

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Joining hands for the right to health: An appeal to stakeholders. Soc Health Behav 2019;2:158-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Joining hands for the right to health: An appeal to stakeholders. Soc Health Behav [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Sep 21];2:158-9. Available from: http://www.shbonweb.com/text.asp?2019/2/4/158/269504

Dear Editor,

The right to health entitles the highest attainable standard of health for all individuals without discrimination.[1] The ultimate focus of the right to health is to give emphasis toward the disadvantaged and vulnerable population groups who are at a higher risk for being ill in comparison with the others and are expected to face barriers to access quality-assured and affordable health-care services.[1],[2] Moreover, these population groups are also prone to violence, stigma, discrimination, and higher incidence of diseases, complications, and mortality, and thus it is our responsibility to safeguard their rights.[1],[2]

The right to health is inextricably linked with the social rights of an individual, and any violation with regard to the right to health is bound to have serious consequences on the social rights of an individual, the family, and the community. At the same time, if the rights to health are not met, it becomes quite obvious that even the social rights (viz., right to education and right to social security) are jeopardized.[1],[3] Acknowledging the need to ensure health for all, the time has come to adopt a human rights-based approach, and all efforts should be taken to target discriminatory practices which play a major role in determining inequitable health outcomes.[3] Adoption of such an approach will aid in enabling people to enjoy the right to health, and this can only happen provided we adhere to the principles of accountability, equality, and nondiscrimination, participation of all concerned stakeholders, and universality (it applies to all individuals regardless of any other sociodemographic determinants).[3],[4]

Simultaneously, we have to ensure that the health services are available, accessible, and acceptable to all and are quality assured (viz., safe, effective, time bound, people centric, and equitable).[3] Owing to the efforts of global leaders and the concerted efforts of different stakeholders at various levels, it is very much a reality that more number of people are in a position to access essential health services today; nevertheless even today, close to 50% of the world's population is deprived of that, and the majority of them are from low- and middle-income nations living in low-resource settings.[1],[3] It is high time that we have to rise up to the occasion and work together to ensure that people can enjoy their right to health.[4]

The first and foremost step is to ensure that everyone can access quality-assured and affordable health care regardless of the geographical settings or the socioeconomic status.[1],[2],[3] However, this will not happen unless steps are taken to break down the existing barriers, which can range from social, cultural, financial aspect, quality of the services, or even the availability of the health-care services.[2],[3],[4] Another important dimension is to ensure that the communities participate in the formulation of the health policies, which will obviously improve their health indices. In addition, public health laws have to be strengthened simultaneously.[5]

Furthermore, it is important to understand that health is definitely more than health care, and there are wide gamut of factors which together determine the health status of an individual.[3],[4],[5] Keeping this in mind, it is not only necessary to provide affordable and quality health care, but also to create a healthy society, which will shield the health status of the general population.[3] The next thing is to plan and implement measures to address the causes of inequality and ensure that no discrimination is encouraged.[3] This will require a comprehensive and concerted approach from the stakeholders, which will enable both the strengthening of the services and also enhancing awareness on the rights of health workers and beneficiaries.[1],[3]

In conclusion, it is extremely difficult to attain health for all or universal health coverage unless the right to health is given key importance, which in turn will require consistent support and collaborative efforts from all the involved stakeholders.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Human Rights and Health. World Health Organization; 2017. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-rights-and-health. [Last accessed on 2019 Apr 21].  Back to cited text no. 1
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Palliative care: An integral component of human right to health. Int J Prev Med 2016;7:15.  Back to cited text no. 2
World Health Organization. Standing up for the Right to Health. World Health Organization; 2018. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/standing-up-for-the-right-to-health. [Last accessed on 2019 Apr 21].  Back to cited text no. 3
The Lancet. The right to health. Lancet 2018;392:2516.  Back to cited text no. 4
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Role of public health laws in the advancement of right to health on an international scale. MAMC J Med Sci 2017;3:107-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
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