In modern day society, health care and human rights are often viewed from different spectrums and it’s getting harder to make a compelling case for health care as a human right. Even though it is apparent that health care is an important part of our everyday lives, a lot of people tend to shy away from discussing what is undoubtedly obvious – that the right to health care is indeed a human right that ought to be defended just as fiercely as other human rights. The term “human rights” is loosely translated these days to mean preserving the right to do whatever one pleases without receiving opposition and resistance from others. Personal preferences are packaged and passed off as rights; which makes it harder to draw a line between genuine human rights and “wants” that a certain group of people would prefer be commonly recognized as acceptable. Some of the most heatedly debated for rights of the 21st century are: the right to be forgotten, the right to keep and bear arms , and even the right to be lazy. The legitimacy of these rights is not the subject of this blog. But because people have adopted the principle of playing the rights card even in the most ridiculous circumstances, our focus as a society has shifted away from the most significant rights. Perhaps, the real problem lies in the fact that basic interpretation of rights has been lost in translation, or probably because the right to health care comes with a price tag that a lot of people are uncomfortable to freely discuss.
WHAT IS A HUMAN RIGHT?
Simply stated, “A right is a justified claim on someone for something, which one is owed.” Human rights are fundamental rights and freedoms that inherently belong to every human being by virtue of being human! Human rights all bear certain characteristics in common: they are universal, indivisible, inalienable, interrelated, interdependent and equal for all. An individual’s right is materialized when the rights’ holder possesses the object of his/her right’s claim, with the assurance that the object of his/her right cannot be revoked.
HEALTH CARE AS A HUMAN RIGHT
Health care squarely fits into this definition because it pertains to all human beings, and is equal for all. The right to health care has been subject to interpretation by many domestic courts, international institutions, various constitutions and health professionals around the world. Human rights skeptics are unwilling to submit that there is indeed a link between human rights and health care. In doing so, they limit themselves from seeing the bigger picture: a world in which health inequalities at both the local and global levels are diminished, communities with little to no knowledge about life changing techniques, tools, medicines are empowered to defend and protect their individual right to life. The underlying reason why many people are reluctant to recognize health as a human right could be the uncertainty about who bears the financial responsibility for realizing this right for everyone. In the next blog, I will discuss my personal views about the cost of achieving this right, and why this isn’t, and shouldn’t be as complicated as it seems.
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