The development of international law, global institutions, and public policy in the 20th century led to the proclaiming of basic human rights, which became universal in all countries all over the world. These rights and freedoms standardize the most important and vital qualities of human life, they are the same for all people on the planet and are protected by the international law. Unfortunately, not all countries stick to these rights in the same way; thus, their level of life and social protection also differ. This paper will analyze how different countries guarantee the right for health and health care for their citizens and what should be done to improve the situation. The example of two countries (Ukraine and Australia) can clearly show how this right can be implemented and how the violations influence human lives.
The Human Right for Health
The human right for health means that everyone has the right for the highest conditions of mental and physical health. This can be achieved when all the people in the country have access to healthy food, healthy environment, and, perhaps the most important, medical services of high level. The last one includes sanitation, all kinds of medicines with adequate prices, insurance, and other services. There are eight requirements concerning public healthcare: universal access, availability, acceptability and dignity, quality, non-discrimination, transparency, participation, and accountability (NESRI).
In Ukraine, according to the Constitution, all the Ukrainians are to get free and high quality treatment. If one looks at the surface, everything seems to be fine: in every city and town, you can find a hospital, medical cars are driving, drug stores are working, and medical universities prepare young doctors. At the same time, a closer view will show that the reality is different. Corruption is one of the main problems in the sphere of local healthcare. The doctors have very low salaries; that is why very often they ask for bribes. Even without this, most of the state hospitals have poor budgets, so they are forced to ask the visitors to pay. These factors make treatment not equally available for people from different social layers. Very often, the quality of services is also low; the roots of this problem have economic causes, clinics may lack modern equipment or medicines. There are private hospitals that provide treatment of the highest level, but again, their services are too expensive for most of those who need them. Most of the drugstores work 24 hours a day and allow people to buy all the prescribed medicines, the quality of which is monitored by the Western countries (Ukraine by Europe-Cities). At the same time, because of the ineffective policy of setting prices in legislation, the prices for most of the medicines are twice and even more times higher than in other countries.
The roots of these troubles lie in the problems of economic development in the country. Hospitals in different districts are financed differently. Some of them are good while others lack medicines, facilities, and staff. A large gap between social layers makes the ability of being treated rather selective. Government does not guarantee the control over prices on medical stuff, so the companies raise them for getting better incomes, but poor people cannot buy these medicines.
The corruption in all the layers of government and social institutions is also a barrier. The situation can be changed only when the economy of the country will be improved. The statistics shows that human rights are less protected and more often violated in poor countries. A very important factor is the cooperation with international organizations, their monitoring, and help. The higher welfare guarantees the higher standards of life. People will be able to buy healthier food and better medicines. There should be created social programs of health insurance that provide qualitative services.
In contrast, the Australian system of health care is one of the best in the world. It is based on governance and support mechanisms that enable adopting an effective policy, legislation, and funding of quality services. Big sums of money from the budget are invested in the sphere of health. Only in 2010 and 2011, the expenditure of this sphere was about $132 billion. Almost 70% of this sum was funded by governments; other 30% were paid by patients and insurances (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). Hospitals all over the country stay in Local Hospital Networks. These networks were created to improve coordination, access, and delivery between hospitals. They are partially autonomic and adopted according to the needs of the district that they serve. The main program of funding is called Medicare, which was introduced in 1984 to provide free treatment to the citizens. Thanks to this program, people are able to get free treatment at the state hospitals; the exceptions are the cases that are not clinically necessary and cosmetic surgery. Talking about medicines, everything is done to protect humans’ right for health. When people by prescribed medicines at pharmacies, they have a big compensation, the maximum sum that can be paid is $36. If to take the medicines at the hospital, they are 100% free.
This is only a short list of the benefits that are provided by the government of
To sum up, it can be said that the right for a quality healthcare and adequate treatment is one of the most required in the list of basic human rights. Unfortunately, under different circumstances, not all the countries guarantee a proper implementation of this right. Most of these negative aspects are connected with the economic problems and inability of the government to create productive schemes and programs in the system of healthcare. Ukraine with its violations of basic human rights is a typical example of such countries. At the same time, Australia shows the example of a wise control of the government over the healthcare sector and the ways how it should be done.