Association ESE


   Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women.

Right to health and protection of patients’ rights

Health is a basic human right essential for enjoying other human rights. Each human being has a right to a highest degree of health standards that contribute to dignified life. 

The right to health has been recognised in numerous international instruments. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has reconfirmed that: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services”. With regards to international law on human rights, the right to health is comprehensively regulated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. According to Article 12.1 of the Covenant, the States-Parties recognise “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”; while in Article 12.2 certain number is listed of “steps to be taken by the States Parties… to achieve the full realization of this right”. In addition, the right to health is acknowledged, inter alia, in the Convention for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the European Social Charter, the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Additional Protocol of the American Convention of Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, etc. 

Despite a series of significant achievements and continuous efforts for promotion at international and national level, enjoying the right to health is still unattainable for certain categories of individuals. According to the views of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health “Interaction of many individuals with health institutions and health service providers is accompanied with discrimination, abuse and violation of basic rights”, that is, there is a need for introducing and informing patients and health workers to recognise and apply human rights when delivering health services, as well as for building a relationship of equality and respect between a patient and health worker, including elimination of factors that might result in limitations and violations of the right to health. 

Rights of patients are inseparable part of achieving the right to health. Patents’ rights imply rights, responsibilities and duties according to which individuals demand and obtain health care. Human rights regarding health care imply all rights recognised in international documents, relevant for health care provision. Actually they are of utmost significance for provision of quality and proper health care, according to the highest possible standard. However, human rights in health care not only point towards rights of patients, but they include standards in provision of care which equally affects health workers and society in general. Commitments to rights of patients are a result of the global movement to call upon states and health workers to be responsible in providing access to quality health care.

What we do…

Human rights in patient care

We have been working to increase the degree of awareness and information of practitioners (lawyers, health workers and associates), patients and representatives of civil organisations for protection on the right to health. At the same time we have been working to strengthen their cooperation in this area and we have been contributing to the increase of opportunities to undertake and initiate cases of protection of this right. The activities include training, developing education materials and updating the Manual for Practitioners – Human Rights in Health Care.

We endeavour daily to inform the public about the latest developments in the field of health care in the country and the world by offering information on the thematic webpage for protection of patients’ rights – Over 400 users view this page per month on average.

We have been monitoring the degree of implementation of the right to health by developing and submitting reports to proper international institutions and bodies. We have carried out analysis of the degree of implementation of the Law on Patients’ Rights in RM, where we identified needs and measures to improve the situation regarding this issue.


Provision of paralegal aid to Roma in the Municipalities of Delcevo and Shuto Orizari

In cooperation with three Roma civil organizations, we have allowed for an improved access of the Roma population to achieving and protecting the right to health. We have jointly worked to increase the degree of information and understanding of Roma about the right to health care, health insurance and protection of patients’ rights. Having continuous trainings, preparing a handbook and other aids, we have been building capacities of paralegals and partner organisations for proper and timely assistance and support of the Roma population.

Working on meeting the needs of the Roma, we have identified conditions, measures and activities to be undertaken for improvements. We have been undertaking strengthened activities for advocacy for implementation and protection of health rights of the Roma by continuous and enhanced cooperation and communication with authorised institutions at local level. Paralegals delivered paralegal aid and support in 587 individual cases in the municipalities of Shuto Orizari and Delcevo in the course of 2011 and 2012.

The activities are implemented in cooperation with Centre for Democratic Development and Initiatives – CDRIM from Shuto Orizari, the Humanitarian and Charity Association of Roma KHAM from Delcevo and the Roma Resource Centre – RRC from Shuto Orizari.

“I Sazie am an ordinary woman who has been facing daily challenges of living in Delcevo. In June 2011, I went to the Municipality of Delcevo and upon exiting the municipal building, I fell and injured my arm. My family doctor referred me to a specialist at the Kocani Hospital. The specialist examined me and diagnosed me, so I was referred to be treated since it was necessary to have a cast placed on my arm. Although I felt pain in my shoulder, the cast was placed on my lower arm. Unfortunately, instead of reducing, the pain intensified. Thus I went to be examined at a specialist in Stip who told me my injury was treated wrongly and my arm was supposed to be broken again in order to place a new cast on it. I cannot describe the ordeal and humiliation I went through. To solve this situation I addressed the civil association KHAM since their paralegals had us visited at our home previously and offered their assistance and support in obtaining any health service. They prepared a complaint to the Municipal commission for promotion of patients’ rights. Unfortunately the commission was not helpful a lot. This convinced me further more that I should seek justice. Upon my request and KHAM’s assistance we initiated a court procedure for payment of damages. Paralegals are really doing a good job. They not only helped me, but I hear there are other Roma they have helped in filling out documents for health insurance and they negotiate with health institutions, they even accompany the Roma when they visit them”.

Statement of Sazie Fazlijevik, user of paralegal aid and support at the KHAM organization in Delcevo.







Fiscal Transparency

Social accountability for gender equality

Health Rights

Domestic Violence 

Legal Aid Center

Health Information Centre