Extent of the enjoyment of the 4 access element of the right to Health by persons living with HIV/AIDS in Zambia

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Libati, Daniel Sinjwala
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From October 2009 to March 2010 this research was conducted into the legal framework within which the right to health is enjoyed by persons living with HIV in Zambia. Quite particularly, this research was into the extent to which persons living with HIV/AIDS can be said to be enjoying the 'four (4) Access' (4As) element of the right to health. On the one hand it has been a research into the right to health as it exists in Zambia and on the other hand, the extent of the enjoyment of the 4As element of the right to health by persons living with HIV/AIDS in Zambia. A plethora of documents have been referred to. In conducting the research two questions were sought to be asked; (a) to what extent does the right to health exist in Zambia? And two (b) to what extent does a person living with HIV/AIDS enjoy the element of the 4As of the right to health in Zambia? A desk review of documents relevant to the research was conducted and so was a focus group discussion of key informants, PLWHIV. In the end, the research came to the conclusion that international instruments that although ratified and assented to by Zambia cannot be applied unless they are domesticated. The Constitution provides for the right to health, or at least something related to that right as a non justiciable right, otherwise known as a Directive Principle of State Policy. Under International Human Rights Law, the right to health contains the following interrelated and essential elements, the precise application of which depends on the conditions prevailing in a particular State: (a) Availability, (b) Accessibility, (c) Acceptability, and (d) Quality otherwise referred to as appropriateness. A feel among Persons living with HIV (PLWHIV) is that human rights are their entitlements although they are not convinced that they have a right to health.
Right to Health