Tuberculosis in India: a human rights approach to healthcare

Dipika, Jain and Tronic, Brian (2018) Tuberculosis in India: a human rights approach to healthcare. Southwestern Journal of International Law, 24 (2). pp. 219-249. ISSN 21542244

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India has the highest burden of Tuberculosis (TB) in the world. By some estimates, over 600 Indians die each day from the disease. But it does not affect everyone equally—poor and marginalized communities are more likely to be exposed and become infected, progress from latent to active TB, and experience serious health consequences, including death. Despite these important human rights implications, India, like many countries, has based its Revised National Tuberculosis Program (RNTCP) on a bio-medical approach to the disease rather than a human rights approach. However, India has a strong tradition of health-rights litigation, which provides an opportunity for advocates to move beyond the bio-medical paradigm to claim specific rights. In the context of HIV/AIDS, for example, the Supreme Court and several High Courts have issued groundbreaking judgments protecting the rights of persons living with HIV, including their right to non-discrimination, their right to affordable (or free) medication, and their right to assistance in accessing treatment (e.g., through reduced fares on trains). Courts have also held the government accountable for inadequate health infrastructure and equipment and insufficient budgetary allocations for healthcare. These cases could allow advocates and activists to challenge the numerous shortcomings of India’s TB control program as not mere policy failures, but rather as human rights violations. The importance of doing so cannot be overstated— the stigma associated with TB, the lack of testing equipment and drugs, and the government’s near total failure to address drug-resistant TB, contribute to unnecessary sickness, poverty, and death.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Tuberculosis | Health rights litigation | Malnourished persons | Public Health Policy, India
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Social Sciences (General)
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Health (Social sciences)
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Subhajit Bhattacharjee
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2022 04:03
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2022 04:03
Official URL:


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