Minister: Health rights not limited to healthcare available at facilities

Health Minister Dr. Abdulla Khaleel. (Photo/President's Office)

Health Minister Abdulla Khaleel, on Sunday, has remarked that health or health rights are not limited to healthcare services available at hospitals or health centres.

In his address on the occasion of World Health Day, the Minister underscored the lack of thought for factors that contribute to good health or factors leading to the impairment of good health in addition to the role of various parties in upholding health as a right.

He cited today’s occasion – World Health Day – as a moment to address these topics.

“They include matters linked to maternal and infant health, healthy food with adequate nutrition to grow and for health, clean drinking water, housing, cleanliness of homes and personal hygiene, learning and education, cleanliness and safety and sports and recreational environments and roads, accurate information during education and training, relationships among the society, quality of the society and social and economic activities,” he said.

He cited these matters as things that are directly linked to our physical and mental health that are not directly related to healthcare facilities.

Underscoring each of these matters has a positive or negative impact on health, Minister Khaleel stressed the need for them to be implemented in a manner which ensures good health in order to uphold and protect the right to health in a sustainable manner.

“Health is the most basic human right. This is as good health is imperative to be born healthy, to grow and to live,” he said. 

Speaking further, Minister Khaleel underscored the threats people are facing across the world in terms of health due to damage to the environment and climate change caused by the actions of humans.

“Any situation that threatens a person’s health is a violation of their human rights. Violations of human rights adversely impact the physical and mental health of a person,” he said.

As World Health Day is commemorated under the theme “My Health – My Right” this year – the Minister underscored the need to consider health as a right. In this trajectory, he noted the importance of organizing things in consideration of health as a fundamental right.

Speaking particularly regarding the Maldives, Minister Khaleel cited the positive reforms that are being brought to the health sector under the incumbent administration’s policies since assuming office. On this note, he detailed reforms concerning matters involving repeated negligence and former incomprehensive policies to ensure sustainability in the provision of healthcare service.

As part of these efforts, he highlighted plans to shape services in line with primary healthcare in 10 atolls this year and across all atolls in two years, the commencement of preventive healthcare for diseases, the introduction of free medical checkups and positive changes to Aasandha system.

He further highlighted the establishment of a special service for emergency healthcare, the introduction of air ambulance service to ensure timely medical care for patients in emergency circumstances, strengthening the oversight of the health of migrant workers and the introduction of other new services.

“The most important message I want to convey is for everyone to work together to build a healthy society by fulfilling our responsibility at the individual level and cooperating with the government in these efforts to ensure the right to health and remain healthy,” he said.