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My health, my right

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘health’? 

Do you think of being physically fit and free from illness and disease? Do you consider aspects such as maintaining a balanced diet and ensuring mental well-being?

Or maybe you associate health with broader factors such as access to quality education, employment with favourable working conditions, a walkable environment, or proximity to strong support systems like friends and family?

Health is more than just being free from disease. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. And most importantly, health is a right for everyone.

Every year on 7 April, the world comes together to celebrate World Health Day.

The World Health Organization’s Council on the Economics of Health for All has found that at least 140 countries recognise health as a human right in their constitution. Out of these 140 countries, only four mention how to finance it, which makes it exceptionally difficult to implement health-improving initiatives into policies and action.

In so many countries health programs are stretched and underfunded.

It's essential to recognise that addressing health disparities requires more than just rhetoric; it demands concrete action and investment.

This is why advocacy is especially important. For example, in recent years advocacy by Results Australia has helped to secure a $100 million Government commitment to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and a $43.55 million Government commitment to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Results has also helped to ensure Australia maintains its commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and Gavi: the Vaccine Alliance 

On this World Health Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to prioritising health as a fundamental human right. We must work together to address the underlying factors that contribute to health disparities, including poverty, inequality, lack of access to education, and inadequate healthcare infrastructure.

Together, let's strive to make "My health, my right" a reality for everyone, everywhere.

Ikram Mahamed is a 2024 Results Australia Global Health Fellow. She is a Project Officer at the Centre for Multicultural Youth, and holds a Bachelor of Public Health from Monash University.


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