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International Declaration of Health Rights

Created by the students, faculty and alumni on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

We, as people concerned about health improvement in the world, do hereby commit ourselves to advocacy and action to promote the health rights of all human beings. The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being. It is not a privilege reserved for those with power, money or social standing.

  • Health is more than the absence of disease, but includes prevention of illness, development of individual potential, and a positive sense of physical, mental and social well-being.

  • Health care should be based on dialogue and collaboration between citizens, professionals, communities and policy makers. Health services should be affordable, accessible, effective, efficient and convenient.

  • Health begins with healthy development of the child and a positive family environment. Health must be sustained by the active role of men and women in health and development. The role of women, and their welfare, must be recognized and addressed.

  • Health care for the elderly should preserve dignity, respect and concern for quality of life and not merely extend life.

  • Health requires a sustainable environment with balanced human population growth and preservation of cultural diversity.

  • Health depends on the availability to all people of basic essentials: Food, safe water, housing, education, productive employment, protection from pollution and prevention of social alienation.

  • Health depends on protection from exploitation without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.

  • Health requires peaceful and equitable development and collaboration of all peoples.