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Health as a Fundamental Right

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The constitution of the WHO states that enjoyment of the utmost level of health is one of the basic rights of every human being without distinction to religion, political belief, and race, social and economic conditions. This means that all governments must ensure that they generate conditions that provide every citizen with safety and health. These entail ensuring availability of health services, safe and healthy working conditions, nutritious foods and adequate housing. Governments should provide these services for all people, regardless of the economic, social, religious or racial backgrounds (Evans, 2008).

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In light of the above, it is crucial to note that every person has a right to a standard of living that will ensure his general wellbeing and health together with the wellbeing of his whole family (Skolnik, 2011). For this reason, governments have the responsibilities of improving the environment and industrial hygiene, control and treatment of endemic, epidemic occupational and all the other diseases, and the provision of conditions that would ensure that medical services are available in the event that individuals fall sick. However, it is necessary to note that governments can do so much as to provide the facilities and conditions ensuring that people are healthy.

In contrast, the right to health does not necessarily translate into people being healthy. There are many other factors that define a person’s health. These include factors like proper nutrition, hygiene and good relations with the family and the people around an individual. The governments can only advocate for people to improve their environment, but they usually do not make sure that people keep such environments clean. In such situations, an individual cannot complain that his/her right to health has been infringed. An individual also has some responsibilities to undertake to ensure that he/she remains healthy.

The concept of individual rights relates to freedom from interference by the government or by other individuals. The above-mentioned parties can define individual rights as the liberties of every individual that allow him or her to pursue goals in life without any interference. However, an individual should enjoy his/her rights as long as no one interferes with the other members of the community. A community refers to a group of people who share common values and interests. Being a member of a certain community comes with a number of responsibilities, which entail obligations such as respect, corporation and participation in the social life (Skolnik, 2011). In all the free communities, there is always a continuous and unavoidable tension between rights and responsibilities. In most cases, individual rights gain more importance than the social responsibilities. The United States department of state makes it clear that every right comes with a corresponding duty.

There should be a balance in enjoying individual freedoms and taking social responsibilities. Enjoying social rights necessitate a healthy social order because the society suffers in the event that individual autonomy and freedom are pushed too far, (Evans, 2008). The results of this are increased social disorders evidenced by declining public institutions, eroding manners, runaway crimes, economic exploitation and neglect of public institutions. In some situations, individuals should be willing to forego their individual rights for the benefit of the community.

The governments get involved in ensuring that people enjoy some of their rights though provision of such facilities like schools, welfare facilities, health services and health centers, while doing this, the government makes a lot of public investment by using the money collected through taxation. In the modern economy, taxation system is progressive, where people earning higher incomes are taxed more than the people earning low incomes. Most people with low incomes are the ones who make use of public facilities like health centers and schools. There arises tension in such cases, where people with high-income pay for the services of the poor people.

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