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.