January 30, 2012

Health is a right to be delivered and consumed with responsibility

Health and human rights is a salient topic growing now within the global discussions on health development. And this period in the life of Maldivians is a very appropriate moment to flag the idea of health rights as we seek to understand, and nurture a fledgling democracy. Democracy and the right to health have close bearing. In a democracy we the people are the rights holders and those whom we have elected to govern us are the duty bearers.
Thus providing the opportunities for creating health must be the responsibility of the leaders. And congruently, to use the provided facilities by the public must be with a sense of thrift such that what we are given is used with wisdom. As we say in Maldives, "dhey meeha dinas kaa meeha kaan vaanee balaigenney" (even though someone gives, the one who eats must do so with restraint). Thus a benefit such as the Madhana of the past couple of years or now, the Aasandhu, must be used with a frugal mindset - being aware that the resources are limited and that this comes from our own resource; the budget for this is coming from the hard work that we have put into our economy being ferreted from overt and covert taxes.

I will not dwell here on the efficiency or effectiveness, or for that matter, even of the probity underlying the establishment of such a universal access processes so to say. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. But a caveat here is the call for us to realize that this availability provides the avenue to flagrant misuse of the resources if the public are not made aware of this moral underpinning of the collective responsibility to be frugal. This must be a part of the structure of the process of doling out the funds, or it must be the face of a good public orientation process. When the funds run out through the exercise of possible irresponsibility by the public or the craftiness of the providers, the folly of such a quickly-cobbled-together endeavor will be revealed when the funds to sustain such a populist policy runs out. Medical care is a necessary part of the health rights demand and also happens to be the real costly segment of this process. But unfortunately, medical care alone will not make us healthy, it will only take us out of an illness which we are bound to get again in an environment that does not provide the preventive and promotive avenues to keep us healthy. If that latter is not thought through, the money doled out will only prove to be a waste of precocious resources which could have been used on more prudent health system strategies.


Anonymous said...

Dear Dr.Sattar,
Good Evening.
It is joy to read a thought provoking editorial highlighting the need of providing adequate preventative and promotive strategy in developing appropriate National Health System.The suggested strategy is applicable not only for Maldive but for all developing countries in region.
How you like the heading of the editorial as :
"The Health to be achived for sharing,caring and joy."
This achievement is applicable to individual,community,state and Nation.Each must have first responsibility and then right.
Each individual with the guidence of parents and teachers,at the beginning of life,and later on by own individual actions has the responsibility to manifest "Bahu Balam"i.s Health (Physical, Mental,Social and Spiritual welbeing ,not mearly absence of disease).Human Responsibility is the first and foremost and then the Human Right in so far as Health is concerned.
Health is Individual Wealth and this is to be earned with all sincerity.This is the strategy of Preventative and Promotive Approaches to Health.
With Best Regards,

Abdul Sattar Yoosuf said...

Mr Datta, your sentiments well taken. Yes, health is for our happiness and joy -- the ultimate goal. New development concepts such as Gross National Happiness is such a signal that we may need to re-think of our joy as being derived merely from GNP.