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WHAT DOES THE RIGHT TO HEALTH MEAN?

By Gro Harlem Brundtland*

What does the right to health mean in a world where so many people live in desperate situations? asks Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the World Heath Organisation.

In too many parts of the world, people have seen decades --in places more than a generation-- of stagnation, or movement backwards. Don't human rights, like access to health and water, become meaningless when faced with such an enormous gap?

The right to health does not mean that poor governments must put in place expensive services that they cannot afford. Rather, it means that the covenants governments have signed require them to take steps in the right direction, to pursue, and show that they are pursuing, the progressive realisation of their people's rights.

The key to success lies in the interplay between national action and international collaboration. The author calls for a fundamental change in the financing for development. Far too few countries give development assistance which equals or exceeds 0.7 percent of their GDP.


This is an excerpt from the article. Editors interested in acquiring the full text of these columns, please contact romacol@ips.org specifying the name and address of the publication as well as a proposed rate. Unfortunately, we cannot comply with requests from individuals or organisations that do not represent media outlets.




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