Right to Health & Healthy Environment


The right to health is recognized as a fundamental human right in various international treaties, prominently in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).

Article 12 of the CESCR explicitly mentions the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. This article recognizes the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, emphasizing that the realization of this right includes measures for the prevention, treatment, and control of diseases, as well as the creation of conditions to ensure medical service and medical attention to all.

Other international instruments that recognize the right to health include:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) Constitution identifies the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.

  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) acknowledges the right of children to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.

  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) recognizes women’s right to healthcare services, including family planning.

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) refers indirectly to the right to health in its recognition of the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being.

Key aspects of the right to health include:

  • Accessibility

Health services, goods, and facilities should be accessible to all without discrimination. This includes access to essential medicines, vaccines, treatment, and healthcare facilities without financial or other barriers.

  • Availability

States are obligated to ensure the availability of functioning healthcare facilities, trained medical professionals, and essential medicines and vaccines in adequate quantities.

  • Quality

Health services must be of good quality, safe, culturally appropriate, and respectful of medical ethics and human rights.

  • Preventive Measures

States are required to take preventive measures to reduce the risk of illness and disease, promote healthy lifestyles, provide information about health, and address environmental and occupational health hazards.

The right to health encompasses not only access to healthcare but also broader determinants of health, including access to clean water, adequate sanitation, nutritious food, housing, and a healthy environment. 

States that are parties to these treaties have an obligation to take measures aimed at progressively achieving the full realization of the right to health for all individuals within their jurisdictions.

Constitution of Pakistan

Article 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees the Right to Health and Article 15 guarantees the Right to a Healthy Environment. These articles make it obligatory for the state to provide adequate healthcare facilities and maintain a clean environment for its citizens.

Sindh Legal Framework

The Government of Sindh has enacted number of laws in Sindh to improve health, including Sindh Reproductive Healthcare Rights Act, 2019 and it’s amended version in 2022; Sindh Promotion of Breast feeding and Protection of Nutrition Act, 2013, Sindh Newborn Screening Act, 2013; Sindh Prevention and Control of Thalassemia Act 2013 and the Sindh HIV-Aids Control treatment and Protection Act 2013. 

In addition, the Government of Sindh has developed a strong legislative framework for the protection of the environment by the adoption of the Sindh Environmental Protection Act, 2014 and the Sindh Wildlife Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act, 2020.

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