BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Dec 31: Dr. Amika Roy Memorial Trust, Guwahati has raised the demand for inclusion of Right to Health as a Fundamental Right in the Constitution of India.
Talking to newsmen in the city on Sunday, Trust Vice Chair Rajat Baran Mahanta said: “Right to Health isn’t enshrined in the Constitution of India as a fundamental right, although, it has been indirectly mentioned in different articles of the Constitution such as directive principles of state policy. The World Health Organization (WHO) says, ‘The highest attaible standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being’. The right to health is the economic, social and cultural right to a universal minimum standard of health to which all individuals are entitled. The concept of the right to health has been enumerated in different intertiol agreements and declarations. Among them are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Intertiol Covent on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
Mahanta said: “What we need are the right to health/healthcare as fundamental right in the Constitution of India (to ensure quality and transparent healthcare services in India with more staff, space and system). Right to freedom of healthcare (to be healthy is a kind of freedom, freedom from diseases).”
Defending the Trust’s demand as to why people need a fundamental right to health, Mahta said: “We need a separate Right to Health as fundamental right to uproot the problems associated with medical terrorism, to address the health crisis and at the same time have a transparent and quality healthcare service in the country. Articles 38, 39(e), 41, 42, 47 of the Constitution of India don’t guarantee the Right to Health enforceable by court of law. And Article 21 of the Constitution doesn’t clarify what is meant by ‘life’. Out-of-pocket expenditure on health because of the low insurance coverage and weak public health system is another key reason of poor health of Indians that ranks after Pakistan and Bangladesh with 57.57% out-of-pocket expenditure on health. The draft of tiol Health Policy, 2015 takes note of the fact that over 63 million people are faced with poverty every year due to overburdening health care cost alone as there is no fincial protection for the vast majority of health care needs. India has one of the highest disease burdens in the world. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) identified India’s poor health outcomes as one of our major developmental challenges. India is a laggard in health outcomes not just by OECD standards, but also by the standards of the developing world. In 2012, India witnessed 253 deaths per 1,00,000 population due to communicable diseases alone which is much higher than the global average of 178. India faces a higher disease burden than many emerging economies such as Chi, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Sri Lanka.”