The rule of law as a social determinant of health (Part 1)

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Research over the past few decades has established that law helps structure, shape and influence social conditions that we describe as "social determinants" and acts as a mechanism to realise the right to health. Social determinants, as we shall discuss in due course refers to broad socio-economic, cultural and environmental conditions such as living and working conditions.

Whilst it is readily conceded that the social production of health is a complex phenomenon and is not susceptible to casual inferences, it cannot be disputed that health is often a function of how law interacts with social conditions – and that social arrangements account for a significant portion of population health.

In this paper I offer my thoughts on the rule of law as a social determinant for health. I start from the premise that health is a fundamental human right. In international law, the right to health is understood as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” . The right to health provides an overarching standard to guide the actions of governments as they use law to improve their health systems. At the heart of the right to health are fundamental principles, such as: availability, acceptability and quality.

Editor's Comment
Women in Politics caucus NGO, a welcome development

In the 2014 General Election, women who stood for parliamentary elections were a mere 17 out of a total of 192 aspirants, and sadly the number dropped to 11 out of 210 parliamentary aspirants in the 2019 General Election. Hopefully, registration of the Women in Politics Caucus will give women the necessary support to join politics. While things were slowly improving, women for a long time were at the receiving end as compared to their male...

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