World Health Day: My health, my right

Around the world, the right to health of millions is increasingly coming under threat…

  • Diseases and disasters loom large as causes of death and disability.
  • Conflicts are devastating lives, causing death, pain, hunger and psychological distress.
  • The burning of fossil fuels is simultaneously driving the climate crisis and taking away our right to breathe clean air. Indoor and outdoor air pollution claims a life every 5 seconds.

So the theme for World Health Day 2024 (7th April) is My health, my right – championing the right of everyone everywhere to have access to:

  • quality health services, education, and information;
  • safe drinking water;
  • clean air;
  • good nutrition;
  • quality housing;
  • decent working and environmental conditions; and
  • freedom from discrimination.

The WHO Council on the Economics of Health for All has found that at least 140 countries recognize health as a human right in their constitution. Yet countries are not passing and putting into practice laws to ensure their populations are entitled to access health services. This underpins the fact that at least 4.5 billion people — more than half of the world’s population — were not fully covered by essential health services in 2021.

Image banner showing Mother Health depict as a lady with wavy hair flowing in the air, with a green scarf wrapped around her neck and symbols on her clothing, accompanied by the text - My health, my right. Source: World Health Organisation.

Know your health rights

You have the right to:

  • safe and quality care, without any discrimination.
  • privacy and confidentiality of your health information.
  • information about your treatment and to informed consent.
  • bodily autonomy and integrity.

You also have the right to make decisions about your own health.

Protect your right to health as a basic human right.

Everyone should have access to the health services they need when and where they need them, without facing financial hardship. So, if you cannot access healthcare, that’s not right. Here are some ways to take action:

  • Advocate – appeal to political leaders, join health communities demanding action, participate in petitions and discussions.
  • Organise your community – at work, church – to agree what needs to change and how.

Promote the right to health as an intrinsic pillar of our broader human rights.

Respecting our right to health means respecting our rights to access safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working conditions, and freedom from violence and discrimination.

Champion health as a priority.

Get involved with decision-making around health. Examples of how to participate include:

  • town-hall meetings and citizen assemblies;
  • focus groups and consultations;
  • health councils, steering groups and review boards.

Source: World Health Organisation website.

Published on Thursday, March 28th, 2024, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 09/04/2024

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