Topics: Law, Human rights, Public health Pages: 15 (2099 words) Published: July 12, 2014
Dr. N. Samson Sanjeeva Rao
Associate Professor, NRI Medical College

Recognize the need for health legislation
Human Rights based Approach to health legislation
Neglected health issues
Defining Health Legislation
A framework for Public health law
Assessment of a legislation
Categories of Acts
Failure of health laws
Doctor-patient relationship
Efforts of the Govt.
International health

Recognize the need for health legislation-

The problem - The Epidemiological Transition in India
Emerging and re-emerging diseases
Rapid industrialisation , environmental pollution
Globalisation and International health
Biological, nuclear and chemical weapons threat
Genetically modified foods and food pollution due to chemicals Public health emergencies and disasters
Tobacco related diseases,
Road Traffic Accidents and injuries

India’s triple burden of disease
Communicable diseases, Maternal and Peri-natal diseases
Adoption of lifestyles of the developed world – Diabetes, CVD etc. Population, Poverty, Poor water supply & Sanitation, Low standards of living

Identifying the State’s Responsibility to its people
Social security
Health services
Environmental protection
Equal opportunity

Human Rights Based Approach

Right to the highest attainable standard of health
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 –Article 25 (1) Int. Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (ICESCR) – Article 12 Int. Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) Int. Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Constitution of the WHO (1946)
Declaration of Alma Ata –WHO (1972)

Right to health
Right to timely and appropriate health care
Right to underlying determinants of health
access to safe and potable water
adequate sanitation
adequate supply of safe food
nutrition and housing
healthy occupational and environmental conditions
access to health-related education and information
sexual and reproductive health

Neglected Health issues
Neglected diseases
Mental Disability
Sexual & Reproductive Health (Maternal Mortality)

Interrelated and essential elements
Physical accessibility
Economic accessibility (affordability)
Information accessibility

For issues to become sustainable political agendas, they must be contextualised in the Rights domain.
Right to health - obligations on the State
The right to health imposes three types or levels of obligations on the State: Obligation to respect
Obligation to protect
Obligation to fulfill
To Facilitate
To Provide
To Promote

State’s obligation to respect – Refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of the right to health. State’s obligation to protect – Measures to prevent third parties from interfering with enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. State’s obligation to fulfill – the State must adopt appropriate legislative, administrative, budgetary, judicial, promotional and other measures towards the full realization of the right to health.

Health Legislation = Public Health & Law
Core public health depends on law as much as on science

food and water sanitation
sewage and refuse disposal
vermin control
management of zoonoses
Control of Communicable diseases

The act of making or enacting laws
a law or a body of laws enacted.

Health Legislation - definition
Health legislation encompasses legislative instruments like: laws
that deal with all aspects of
health protection and promotion
disease prevention
delivery of health care

Health legislation
Public Health laws

References: 1. S. Hazarika, A. Yadav, K. S. Reddy, D. Prabhakaran, T. H. Jafar, K. M. Venkat Narayan. Public health law in India: A framework for its application as a tool for social change. The National Medical Journal Of India 2009; VOL. 22,(4): 199 -203
2. Mensah GA, Goodman RA, Zaza S, Moulton AD, Kocher PL, Dietz WH, et al. Law as a tool for preventing chronic diseases: expanding the spectrum of effective public health strategies. Prev Chronic Dis [serial online] 2004 Jan [date cited]. Available from: URL:
3. Gupta JP, Sood AK, Chapter 7- Health Legislations, Contemporary Public Health-Policy Planning Management. Apothecaries Foundation, New Delhi, 2005
4. Kishore J., Part 3 – Legislation, National Health Programmes of India, National Policies and Legislations related to health.Century Publicatins, New Delhi
5. Oxford Textbook of Public Health, Fifth Edition
6. Maxey-Rosenau-Last Public Health and Preventive Medicine: Fifteenth Edition (Public Health and Preventive Medicine
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