The Transnational Human Rights Review


Right to Health; Legal Positions; Universal Health Coverage; Resource Constrained Nations

Document Type


English Abstract

Universal health coverage, as conceived by the World Health Organization (WHO) and adopted in the programmatic framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is a clarion call for states to strengthen their health financing systems to avoid catastrophic and impoverishing health spending. However, the framing of the goals of universal health coverage fails to take account of underlying determinants of health and appears to abandon decades of health rights scholarship and jurisprudence. This scholarship and jurisprudence, although not entirely free from disagreements and shortcomings, is argued to offer a better framework for universal health coverage when strengthened with the paradigm of legal positions developed by Robert Alexy. Informed by the need to bolster universal health coverage to ensure better health outcomes in resource-constrained nations such as Brazil, India, Nigeria and South Africa, this paper argues for a strengthening of the framework of the right to health and its convergence with universal health coverage to achieve better health outcomes in resource-constrained nations.