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Health Care and Social

  • Health Care and Social

      • The right to health care not only involves the right to access to medicines and doctors, but also involves a duty on governments to ensure that people live in conditions that do not harm their health.

        The recognition of health as a human right took a great step forward when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human
        Rights (UDHR). The UDHR states that: “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and
        of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.”

        Statutory institutions in terms of health care:

        • The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) ensures that doctors respect the individual rights of their patients;

        • The South African Nursing Council overseas the registration and conduct of nurses;

        • The South African Pharmacy Council registers pharmacists and their assistants;

        • The Medicines Control Council ensures all registered medicines in South Africa are confirmed to be safe, effective and properly manufactured.

        The principle that health is a human right has been the foundation of health policy since 1994. Good health and access to health care
        services are essential for people’s right to dignity. The Constitution states that government must take reasonable legislative and other
        measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation.

        In implementing the right to healthcare, disputes have arisen regarding whether the government is fulfilling its constitutional duties. Parliament is
        meant to allow certain disputes to be raised and resolved through debate. Should this fail, the courts have to interpret the Constitution and
        to explain precisely what the meaning and duty of the government is in relation to the right to health.

        Serious threats to the right to access to healthcare:

        • The covid-19 pandemic;

        • A major shortage of doctors and nurses especially in poorer communities;

        • The HIV/AIDS epidemic;

        • International trade laws that limit affordable medicines;

        • The failure of the Ministry of Health to fulfil its legal duties and to ensure that the laws and polices adopted pass the constitutional tests.

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        Hi, I’m Kailash Pillay, an attorney from the city of Johannesburg. My passion for the law
        stems from a desire to improve upon the lives of the vulnerable who fall prey to a
        corrupt system.
        I studied at the University of Johannesburg where I obtained my Bachelor of Laws
        degree, the starting point to the long journey of becoming a legal practitioner.
        This profession has taught me to persevere through the complexities of the law and to
        continually develop my skills as a legal professional.