Right to Health
- The human right to health guarantees a system of health protection for all.
- Everyone has the right to the health care they need, and to living conditions that enable us to be healthy, such as adequate food, housing, and a healthy environment.
- Health care must be provided as a public good for all, financed publicly and equitably.
The human right to health care means that hospitals, clinics, medicines, and doctors’ services must be accessible, available, acceptable, and of good quality for everyone, on an equitable basis, where and when needed. The design of a health care system must be guided by the following key human rights standards:
Universal Access: Access to health care must be universal, guaranteed for all on an equitable basis. Health care must be affordable and comprehensive for everyone, and physically accessible where and when needed.
Availability: Adequate health care infrastructure (e.g. hospitals, community health facilities, trained health care professionals), goods (e.g. drugs, equipment), and services (e.g. primary care, mental health) must be available in all geographical areas and to all communities.
Acceptability and Dignity: Health care institutions and providers must respect dignity, provide culturally appropriate care, be responsive to needs based on gender, age, culture, language, and different ways of life and abilities. They must respect medical ethics and protect confidentiality.
Quality: All health care must be medically appropriate and of good quality, guided by quality standards and control mechanisms, and provided in a timely, safe, and patient-centered manner.
The human right to health also entails the following procedural principles, which apply to all human rights:
Non-Discrimination: Health care must be accessible and provided without discrimination (in intent or effect) based on health status, race, ethnicity, age, sex, sexuality, disability, language, religion, national origin, income, or social status.
Transparency: Health information must be easily accessible for everyone, enabling people to protect their health and claim quality health services. Institutions that organize, finance or deliver health care must operate in a transparent way.
Participation: Individuals and communities must be able to take an active role in decisions that affect their health, including in the organization and implementation of health care services.
Accountability: Private companies and public agencies must be held accountable for protecting the right to health care through enforceable standards, regulations, and independent compliance monitoring.
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