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Right To Health In The World

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

Author: Swetha B

Institution: VIT School of Law


From the international perspective, the Right to Health is a basic fundamental right according to WHO. Right to health for people means that everyone should have access to health services whenever needed despite the financial crisis. Right to health is not only about getting timely health care. According to WHO guidelines, RTH also includes safe and potable water, adequate sanitation, healthy occupational and environmental conditions, access to health-related information including sex, pregnancy, and abortion. Every individual has the right to privacy and to be treated with dignity and respect. Based on this right to privacy no person shall be subjected to medical examinations without consent. These are the basic reasons behind the World Health Organization's promotion of people-centered care as a manifestation of human rights. Discrimination in health care will be unfair and will act as a major barrier to develop as a community. So, RTH is acknowledged and is relevant in every state of the world. Every country has ratified at least one international treaty that recognizes the right to health. There is a separate committee to check on how RTH is being implemented and practiced in every county.


In China, the government has been providing health care services for people since the Chinese communist revolution in 1949. But during 1990, there was a high point of privatization of healthcare services which led to a low life expectancy rate in the country. Then, the government took various measures, introduced various policies to provide healthcare to the people. In 2008 the government declared a reformation plan on playing the dominant role in providing public health and basic medical services. In the next decade, various other schemes were introduced and in the year 2017, almost 97 percent of the Chinese population were covered under three categories of public health insurance.

  • Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance

  • Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance

  • New Corporation Medical Services

People falling under the category can claim insurance for every medical expense even if it is trivial. But even after 2017, the right to health was not legalized in the country. During the pandemic, in 2020 March the Chinese government legalized basic medical and healthcare. The law stated that health must be prioritized and the Right to Health is a fundamental duty of the Chinese population.


The United Kingdom is a developed country but the right to health is not recognized protection under the law. However, in this country human right is legalized and obliges all public authorities including National Health Services. National Health Services provide public health care to permanent residents of a country. The system was originally designed to provide free healthcare at the point of need and shall be paid in the form of a general taxation method. But few changes were made like the general taxation method doesn't include prescribed medicines and dentistry. Since human rights are legalized in this country patients get health care benefits like

  • The elderly and vulnerable patients should not be mistreated

  • The hospitals must protect patients at risk and prioritize them

  • Parent’s consent to treat a child was important


France has a system of healthcare largely financed by the government in the form of National health insurance. Even though not all medical expenses can be claimed under this insurance policy, France still manages to be consistently ranked as one of the best in providing healthcare services to the public. The quality of health care in France is par while compared to other western countries.


Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world and all the residents in this country must have health insurance coverage. People without insurance from their companies or employers can take part in a national health insurance program administrated by the local government. In such a way, patients have the liberty to choose their doctors and facilities while the government will cover for these people.


In these countries, the Right to Health care can't be enjoyed. The country doesn't have health care but only a health insurance system. Right to health has been long recognized internationally but there was never a proper system in these countries. It is not even considered as a basic human right in these countries even though these countries campaign for human rights throughout the world. Even though they have proper medical and health facilities, they are not funded by the government.


Underdeveloped countries and developing countries like Congo, Myanmar, Nigeria have a void in their healthcare services. Developing or underdeveloped countries like Libya Tanzania etc., have 10 doctors available to treat around 1 million people, whereas in developed countries like the USA, UK, on average they have 3000 doctors available to treat 1 million people which is a huge difference. This could be due to a deficiency in resources. These countries mainly lack doctors. Financial resources are also unevenly distributed as these countries often get affected by natural calamities like famine, drought, etc. Apart from that, there also exists inequality in services. Since there are a very limited number of health care workers available in these countries, they are often more accessible to people who are capable to pay. So, people with limited financial resources find it difficult to get treated in these countries. As a result of lack of healthcare average expectancy rate of people in these countries are low.


1 Comment

Great Article Swetha! Really very informative n an Eye Opener! Good luck n God bless

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