Global Health Law Critical To Advancing Health Equity

Health Affairs: The Lancet Commission on Global Health Law: How Law Can Advance The Right To Health
Lawrence O. Gostin, O’Neill professor of global health law and director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, and Eric A. Friedman, project leader for the Platform for a Framework Convention on Global Health at the Georgetown University Law Center’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

“…Government’s fidelity to human rights obligations, including the right to health, is a core element of developing effective law to safeguard public health. The right to health — embedded in numerous treaties and constitutions, and a founding principle of WHO — demands universal access to quality health services, along with underlying determinants of health such as a clean environment, potable water, and nutritious food. … One basic step to maximize law’s impact … is to strengthen legal capacities in all countries … This September’s U.N. [high-level meeting (HLM)] on [universal health coverage (UHC)] offers a perfect opportunity for every country to enact, or to commit to soon enact, UHC legislation, giving everyone affordable access to high-quality health services. … [M]oving one step further to advance health with justice, the time has come for moving forward on the [Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH)], the proposed international treaty that would bring far greater accountability to all aspects of the right to health, empowering populations and greatly advancing national and global health equity. WHO should take the lead, forming a multi-stakeholder working group of states, civil society, and community members to examine and report back on the potential benefits, principles, and architecture of the FCGH…” (5/1).