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Health is most ignored basic right, moot told.

KARACHI -- The National CommiAssion for Human Rights Sindh chapter has launched a report on 'Right to health in Pakistan' emphasising the need for making health a fundamental right in the Constitution.

President Arif Alvi was the chief guest of the ceremony held on Saturday at a hotel where the report was launched.

Chairman of NCHR retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan, NCHR member Sindh Anis Haroon, president of Pakistan Mental Health Association Dr Syed Haroon Ahmed and Pakistan Medical Association general secretary welcomed the guests.

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, barrister Faisal Siddiqi and Kausar S. Khan of Aga Khan University were among the speakers.

President Alvi appreciated the efforts of NCHR for highlighting the issue of right to health in Pakistan.

He said as a nation 'we have to travel a long way; we have to be disciplined as other developed nations of the world are'.

He said: 'Whether it is government or any citizen of Pakistan, they all have responsibilities on their shoulders to work for prosperity and development of the country.'

Sindh Health Minster Dr Pechuho said women in Pakistan went through numerous health hazards.

She said there were 380 deaths over 100,000 births that was an alarming fact.

Justice Chowhan said despite being one of the fundamental and universal rights, health did not receive as much attention.

'The political parties have demoted health to the periphery rather than maintaining it and scaling it up. The current state of health in Pakistan paints a very dismal picture. The World Health Organization has ranked Pakistan 122 in a list of 190 countries in terms of its health status,' he added.

'Persons with disabilities remain languished in the corners of society with no special facilities.'

Ms Haroon said health had always remained among the last priorities of successive governments in Pakistan as a result the country had abysmal health indicators.

'Violations of health rights have never been seen as human rights violation', she said adding maternal, malnutrition and other such issues should be human right issues.

She said the report had proposed a constitutional amendment to be incorporated with Article 9 of the Constitution which would make health 'justiciable' in the court of law.

Kausar S. Khan, one of the lead authors of the report, said health had never been seen as a human right.

'It is ironical that we do raise voice for our rights, but we have never raised voice when our right to health is violated.'

Barrister Siddqui said health had become a luxury in the country and only affluent class had access to quality health care.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:May 6, 2019
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