“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
This 1966 acclaimed statement of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights leader, was reechoed by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) as it urged the government to revisit health care programs and policies to make sure that the most marginalized members of society are not overlooked.
The CHR noted that public and private hospitals have been swarmed by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infected patients who are all fighting for their lives and scrambling to get a room.
It said that many of them failed to do so and have lost their lives while waiting in makeshift tents in hospitals grounds.
These bleak scenarios only highlight the government’s need to beef up the country’s health care system, the CHR stressed as it pointed out that help must always be ready for those in need.
“Nagpapahiwatig na maraming mga polisiya’t programa ng pamahalaan ang kinakailangang tingnan muli upang masigurong nakatuon sa mga pinaka-nangangailangan, mahihina, at nasa laylayan ang pagkalinga sa ating lipunan, (This indicates that many government policies and programs need to be reviewed to ensure that care in our society is focused on the most needy, vulnerable, and marginalized),” the CHR said.
“Ang karapatan sa kalusugan ay karapatan sa buhay. Kung hindi natin mapapangalagaan ito, para na rin nating tinalikuran ang kahalagahan ng buhay, (The right to health is the right to life. If we cannot take care of it, it is as if we have neglected the importance of life),” it added.
Thus, the CHR reiterated that an effective national vaccination strategy requires equitable distribution of vaccines.
“In the continuing effort to address the severity of the current health situation, CHR urges the government to sustain its efforts on vaccine utilization to prevent spoilage and to refrain from misleading comments that renege on previously agreed upon indemnity fund for vaccine side effects,” said CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia.