Health law and reproductive rights


(Kevin Nam) #1

•The American University Washington College of Law says that health law encompasses “not only the law of health care delivery and financing but all areas of study that focus on the intersection between law and health: from the ethics of embryonic stem cell research, to the role of government in preventing child maltreatment, to occupational health and safety regulations, to the laws governing elder care and death.”

the reasons for health law include: 1. Evolution of medical technology 2. Medical mistakes 3. Inequality between the doctor and patient 4. Public entitlements and constitutional rights 5. The duty of lawyers to the public

in regards to reproductive health Definition according to the International Conference on Population and Development, Programme of Action, 1994. •“Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and its functions and processes.

the rights come from: •the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948;

•the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979;

•the Programme of Action, from the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo 1994;

•and the Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995;

with that in mind…do you think the world , especially teh developing nations, are up task to protect these rights?

(Rachel Magege) #2

Here in East Africa, health law is still relatively new. As a law student myself, I find that the legal education system has not adopted health law and that speaks greatly on the standards of society.

With regards to your question, I think developing nations still have a lot of work to do. On the face of it, the world is becoming smaller and smaller; in this information, the ignorant will only stay ignorant if they consciously choose to do so. There are so many advancements in the medical field today, and so the legal culture must adapt to these changes. It is only inevitable.

In the long run, developing nations will protect health law and reproductive rights, but not until systems of corruption and ignorance have been dealt with.

Those are my humble thoughts.

(Kevin Nam) #3

well said @Rachele the aspects of health law like in kenya the health law act which was passed still has some issues in terms of devolution on the health sector. the national government should be the caregiver in health issues since a lot of funds are misappropriated at the counties even though health facilities are now closer to the people.

(Rachel Magege) #4

I agree @nashmeister. There are gaps and loopholes in the Health Act. I also believe the legal society in Kenya (and other developing countries) can enact more forums for educating the masses, especially when it comes to health. Lawyers and even Judges can show how other Acts play intimate roles with health and reproductive rights. Take for instance, The Children Act.

In fact, I would maintain that individuals who specialize in family law should work side by side with the government in order to push the agenda for health and reproductive rights.

(Kevin Nam) #5

very well noted especially the children act part, since there are children court nowadays in kenya, would it be far fetched if we though of health court in that regards

(Rachel Magege) #6

I think it’s a plausible idea, though implementation may be a challenge.

(Kevin Nam) #7

yeah considering the judiciary in Kenya has had its budget cut , i would rather say that the best chance to help the masses would be through legal clinics and IMLU

(Rachel Magege) #8

Yes, Sir. That could be a starting point, and eventually build up to health courts. Do you know of any jurisdictions (or countries) that have health courts? Personally, I don’t think we have any in Tanzania.

(Kevin Nam) #9

yes there are, mostly referred to as medical courts such as the jurisdictions in New Zealand and Scandinavia also some states in the USA like Virginia. in the jurisdiction of kenya such matters are mostly handled in the industrial court i.e labour courts

(Kevin Nam) #10

if you find a country that has disregard to human rights and there is utter dictatorship like during the holocaust , what we now consider as barbaric , they considered as rights like the Sterilization law passed during the Nazzi era that created a hereditary health court to forcibly sterilize people

(Rachel Magege) #11

Wow! That is mind-blowing. It really makes you think what kind of things were held to be legal - slavery, apartheid. But returning to health law and reproductive rights, there should be medical courts in our developing countries, as separate entities from labour courts.

(Elizabeth Atemnkeng) #12

In Cameroon we don’t have health law but rely on general provisions of criminal law on issues of abortion. But in the provision of health care by the state, the govwrnment is not obligated to provide or ensure skilled medical health care services. My opinion.

(Kevin Nam) #13

that will go against the principles of universal health rights if the government which we pay taxes does not provide and/or deliver a healthy nation. on the issue of abortion i think that a great debate is still in the world’s sphere both pro and anti so the criminal aspect may be most likely to the right to life and the definition of conception

(Eda Rosa) #14

My husband works for a health management company in the Quality department. He has worked for this company for almost 10 years now and through out those years the Quality department has evolved in a way no one would have predicted. As more and more voices of wronged patients have speak up and take the providers to court these cases although flooding the judicial system in the USA are milestones to a more progressive way to the quality and constant change of life itself. I work on many personal injury cases as well and there is no more using the same “case law” as before. The attorneys are getting more aggressive in protecting the rights of their clients and finding more feasible ways to get a better quality of life for the injured. So although like anything else in this world slowly but surely I have seen some changes in my 15 years of working as a paralegal. So yes it can be possible it will just take time

(Rachel Magege) #15

@eda I completely agree. Though progress may be slow, it is still progress. Change will come, but as you said, it will take time.

(Kevin Nam) #16

@eda it is such aggressiveness from legal practitioners that we need to push forward this agenda no matter the pace as you have stated


Health Act 2017 Laws of Kenya is discriminatory, it only consider members of the Kenya medical and Dentist board(KMPDU) to be legible to head health departments in the Country. It must be appreciated that Health is made up of a conglomerate of professionals ranging from doctors to Nurses, Laboratory technologists, public health officers just to mention a few, and all these professionals have regulatory bodies but why does this law recognise only one union i.e KMPDU and leave out the Union of other health professionals e.g Nurses union, medical laboratory board etec. Many kenyans have suffered due to malpractice by Kenyan doctors but they cannot get justice because in Kenya it is only KMPDU that can investigate the conduct of a doctor i.e Doctors investigating themselves and now the law want only doctors to head kenya health system. This law must be amended to accommodate all health practitioners in the leadership of health sectors in Kenya.

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