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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 107-108

Role of Public Health Laws in the Advancement of Right to Health on an International Scale

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication28-Jun-2017

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram 603108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_9_17

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How to cite this article:
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

How to cite this URL:
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 [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Aug 11];3:107-8. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2017/3/2/107/209029


The right to health is an extremely important fundamental right of an individual, which calls for enjoyment of the highest achievable standard of health and for the ability to exercise all other human rights, regardless of any sociodemographic or other determinants.[1] In fact, in the absence of a basic level of health, it would be extremely tough or impossible for individuals to perform their social roles and to enjoy their freedom.[1]

There is no doubt that nations around the world are exposed to a wide range of challenges (such as infectious diseases, lifestyle diseases, intentional or unintentional injuries, and environment deterioration) that threaten the health indicators of their population.[1],[2] Moreover, the impact of these changes is more on the middle- and low-income nations, which lack the resources as well as the political commitment to respond to these challenges effectively and adequately.[1],[2] Laws have always been considered as a powerful tool to assist the populations at global, national, and subnational levels in living a long and healthy life and for ensuring that a nation’s economy remains flexible.[3],[4]

Globally, from a public health perspective, implementation of appropriate laws in different areas has resulted in a remarkable improvement in the health and safety standards of the human population, and at the same time, the implementation acted as an important source of evidence for different nations to learn from the experience and apply them in their own settings.[1],[3] Considering the potential and scope of law in the strengthening of the healthcare delivery system, it is anticipated that laws will be one of the most crucial tools to move forward toward universal health coverage and, thus, sustainable development goals.[3],[4] On the other hand, absence of these laws or any kind of neglect can potentially expose the entire population to health-related threats.[1]

In other words, the public health legislations earmark the responsibilities and functions of the stakeholders to coordinate their actions to develop a healthy environment, to encourage acquisition of healthy behaviors, to aid in the generation of appropriate evidence to formulate effective action and policies, and to supervise a competent health workforce.[1],[2],[3],[4] In fact, the findings of a recently released report have emphasized on the need to bring about reforms in the existing public health laws to improve the quality of life of people and even their surroundings.[5] The report mentions about a wide range of population-based interventions (such as soda tax in Mexico, specifying salt limits in South Africa, mandatory plain packaging of tobacco products, and compulsory use of helmets in Vietnam) across different settings of different nations, as their implementation has played an important role in improving the health standards of the general population.[5]

To conclude, there is an indispensable need to improve the understanding and expand the scope of the public health laws in assisting the national governments and other stakeholders to eventually expedite the accomplishment of universal health coverage and the advancement of people toward the right to health. This can be effectively done by learning from the various population-based interventions implemented in other areas, which have delivered favorable results, and then implementing the same in local settings.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Magnusson R. Advancing the Right to Health: The Vital Role of Law; 2017. Geneva: WHO press. Available from: http://who.int/healthsystems/topics/health-law/health_law-report/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Jan 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
Marks-Sultan G, Tsai FJ, Anderson E, Kastler F, Sprumont D, Burris S. National public health law: A role for WHO in capacity-building and promoting transparency. Bull World Health Organ 2016;94:534-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Emphasizing the need to achieve universal health coverage worldwide. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:292-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
Clarke D, Rajan D, Schmets G. Creating a supportive legal environment for universal health coverage. Bull World Health Organ 2016;94:482.  Back to cited text no. 4
World Health Organization. New Report Offers Global Resource on Using the Law to Improve Health; 2017. Available from: http://who.int/features/2017/report-health-law/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Jan 19].  Back to cited text no. 5

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Social Health and Behavior. 2019; 2(4): 158
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