Right to Health

Concept- The Right to Health

The concept of the right to health is grounded in the belief that everyone should have access to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The provision of health is an inalienable human right, globally recognized as a fundamental right. When it comes to children, the right to health is particularly important because they are vulnerable and dependent on adults for their well-being. This right encompasses various aspects:

Access to Healthcare

Children access to essential healthcare services is critical for their well-being. This includes preventive care such as vaccinations, regular health check-ups, and treatment for illnesses and injuries. Maternal and child health services are particularly important for ensuring safe pregnancies and healthy childbirths. Access to healthcare also encompasses affordability and proximity to healthcare facilities, especially in rural areas where healthcare infrastructure may be lacking.


Proper nutrition is fundamental for children’s physical and mental development. The right to health includes access to adequate food and clean water to ensure children receive the nutrients they need to thrive. Malnutrition, including both undernutrition and overnutrition, can have long-term consequences on children’s health and well-being, highlighting the importance of addressing nutritional needs early in life.

Safe Environment

Children have the right to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. This includes protection from environmental hazards such as pollution, exposure to toxins, and unsafe living conditions. Governments and communities should work to create environments that promote children’s health and safety, including safe housing, clean air and water, and measures to prevent accidents and injuries.

Health Education

Health education plays a crucial role in promoting children’s well-being and preventing illness and disease. Children should receive education about healthy habits, hygiene practices, and how to prevent common illnesses. This education empowers children to take care of their own health and equips them with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their well-being.

Child-Specific Healthcare Needs

Children have unique healthcare needs that require specialized care. This includes immunizations to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases, developmental screenings to monitor growth and milestones, and pediatric care tailored to children’s age and stage of development. Access to healthcare providers who are trained in pediatric care is essential for addressing children’s specific health needs.

Protection from Harmful Practices

The right to health also encompasses protection from harmful practices that could endanger children’s health. This includes safeguarding children from exploitation, abuse, child labor, child marriage, and other forms of harmful treatment. Governments and communities have a responsibility to enact laws and policies to protect children from such practices and to provide support services for those who have been affected.

Government Obligations

Governments have a primary responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to health for children. This includes implementing policies and programs that ensure access to healthcare, nutrition, safe environments, and health education for all children, regardless of their background or circumstances. Governments should allocate sufficient resources to support children’s health and well-being and monitor progress to ensure that children’s rights are upheld.

Is “Health” a Fundamental Right in Pakistan?

The Constitution of Pakistan presently does not acknowledge health as a fundamental right. Rather, health is solely addressed within Article 38 (Principles of Policy) of the Constitution, rendering it non-justiciable unlike fundamental rights. It means that the issue cannot be brought before a court of law for a decision or  cannot be legally enforced.

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