Policymakers Should Heed Role Of Law In Improving Global Health

The Lancet: Law: an underused tool to improve health and wellbeing for all
Editorial Board

“One of the most potent tools to advance health and wellbeing and enshrine the right to health in local, regional, national, and international policies has not yet gained sufficient attention in global health discussions. A new report, released on Jan. 16, Advancing the right to health: The vital role of law, aims to fill this gap. The report … tackles this vast topic in three parts: advancing the right to health through law reform; the process of public health law reform; and priorities for public health law reform. … [T]hree areas in the chapter about the process of public health law reform deserve special attention and further thought. … First, awareness of barriers and counterforces is crucial to success, and implementation is likely to be in a stepwise fashion. … Second, the role of civil society, patients’ advocacy groups, and other non-governmental organizations is important in the process of reform. … Third … is the power of the law to facilitate intersectoral action. … However, the report misses an important opportunity by not recognizing the existing and non-existing legal frameworks for adolescents and the consequences. … Nevertheless, this is an important report, and law, especially through an intersectoral lens, could provide big successes in achieving healthier populations in the future. All involved in policymaking need to take heed” (1/28).

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