Protecting your right to good health

| Updated on January 12, 2018


Soda tax in Mexico. Salt limits in South Africa. Plain tobacco packaging in Australia. National health insurance in Ghana. Mandatory motorcycle helmets in Vietnam. Health care in the US.

These are some of the examples of the law safeguarding and promoting good health around the world, says a new report from the World Health Organisation, in collaboration with the International Development Law Organisation, the University of Sydney, and Georgetown University in Washington. Featuring case studies from around the world, the report illustrates how the law has improved public health and the safety of its people, providing a resource for countries to learn from the experience of others.

The right to health is enshrined in WHO’s constitution, which affirms that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health as one of the fundamental rights of every human. WHO provides assistance to countries that seek to use the law to improve their health systems, and to address health threats. As far back as 1875, lawmakers in the UK passed legislation requiring landlords to provide proper sanitation, ventilation and drainage to stem the spread of infectious diseases. Today, the control of infectious diseases is one of the most powerful illustrations of how the law can make a difference to health. From smallpox to more recent outbreaks of SARS and Ebola, public health laws can help to improve screening, reporting, contact tracing and quarantine, stemming the spread of infections.

Health laws often make the headlines when they have a direct impact on the everyday consumption patterns of people, such as Mexico’s so-called soda tax, introduced in 2014 to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. In the same vein, Australia’s plain packaging laws for tobacco products have become a global standard-bearer in the effort to reduce smoking rates, the WHO said.

Published on January 20, 2017

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like