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National Seminar on Health Law and Policy: New Dilemmas - New Perspective

Department of Law, University of Kerala is pleased to organize a 3 days National Seminar on Health Law and Policy: New Dilemmas - New Perspective

Date: 23rd - 25th April, 2014

Health and well-being are deeply personal matters. Facing a particular health related condition, and then being on the receiving end of the decisions or prejudices of others (be they health professionals, religious authorities, family members, neighbours, employers or insurance companies) is something that often gives us a new awareness of how limited is our capacity to control some of the most central aspects of our lives.

Everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, which includes access to all medical services, sanitation, adequate food, decent housing, healthy working conditions, and a clean environment. The human right to health guarantees a system of health protection for all in the way they need with accessibility, acceptability, availability with good quality and on an equitable basis, where and when needed. Other than the other international initiatives right to health is emphasized mainly under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Article 25 of the UDHR emphasizes recognition of the right of all persons to an adequate standard of living, including guarantees for health and well-being. It acknowledges the relationship between health and well-being and its link with other rights, such as the right to food and the right to housing, as well as medical and social services. It adopts a broad view of the right to health as a human right, even though health is but one component of an adequate standard of living. In article 12 of the ICESCR also the states parties recognize "the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health."

That article identifies some of the measures the state should take to achieve the full realization of this right. Civilised countries all over the world consider the protection of health as part of the individual rights. The Indian Constitution declares right to life as an important fundamental right. The duty to provide public health facilities is a constitutional mandate under the directive principles of state policy.

Implementation of the right to health has distinct challenges. Access to healthcare in India is compromised by poor infrastructure, cultural attitudes and practices, poverty and low levels of education, deficient resources, and the lack of effective legislation and policies on health related issues. Economic policies that result in the underfunding of public services and the fragmentation of the regulatory role of government tend to reduce the threshold of what is considered an acceptable minimum standard of health-care provision for the population at large.

Thus patients are turned from citizens who have rights and responsibilities into clients or consumers. Access to health care which WHO describes as "one of the fundamental rights of every human being", thus becomes dependent on the individual's capacity to pay.

Science and technology which were once the synonyms of progress, freedom and betterment of human conditions now pose many issues on health sector. The question as to whether science and technology determine the course of their own development or whether society can and should control them, best suits in the case of health sector. The recent trends of organ transplantation, medical research and patenting in the medical field causes many issues of ethics, accessibility, affordability, quality concerns and regulatory insufficiency.

The other indispensable areas connected with health include right to food, right to healthy environment, right to housing etc. Nutrition programs and provision of food are substantial components of primary health care strategies. Among the many factors which have a great influence upon the health of the individual there is none more potent than food. And one of the evil that is prevalent in the country now is the adulteration of food. Environment is also one of the areas for state intervention in the realization of the right to health. The crucial issues faced by public daily which affects their health directly include lack of pure water and absence of waste disposal mechanisms.

Keeping in view the various ramification of the issue , Department of Law, University of Kerala proposes to conduct a 3 day National Seminar on Health law and Policy New Dilemmas-New Perspective .

The Health Law encompasses not only the law of health care delivery and financing but all areas of study that focus on the intersection between law and health. Thus the seminar has a multidisciplinary approach and focuses particularly on realization of a constitutional right to health, implication of advancement in technology on access to healthcare, access to drugs, recent issues affecting public health, other indispensable areas in connection with health and government policies in connection with it.

Objectives of the Seminar:

  • To analyze the various constraints of health care service mainly accessibility affordability and quality.
  • To emphasize the issues and flaws in health law in connection with the allied rights- right to food, right to healthy environment, right to water etc.
  • To constructively analyze the recent trends on health like organ transplantation, Reproductive techniques, medical research, Patenting of medicines, treatment and techniques.

In this background the proposed 3 day national seminar has set before itself the following themes to be vigorously pursued in the course of the three day deliberations

Thematic breakup:

Public Health and Health Care Systems - A Rethinking:
Rethinking the public health and health care systems-Public Health as a system - what is public health-public health and social justice General Issues affecting public health and recent development in government's policies

Health Care Quality-Challenges for realisation:
Health as a Human Right- Right to Health- Challenges for Realisation- Health care Quality- The quality of care delivered to patients- unequal treatment- patient oriented standard of informed consent- managed care liability for institutional negligence- Accessibility and affordability of Health care system. Safety of products used in Health care-Quality of Drugs-Drug Price Control Orders and Right to Health quality of medical care, equipments, drugs, hospital services, paramedical services, nursing ,etc-safety of blood, blood products- critical appraisal of legal regime relating to ensuring safety and quality in blood transfusion.

Differentially abled - Health Care Issues:
Disability, Health care and ethics- Health rights of Mentally Challenged- Health rights of Differently abled - Children with Special Needs: The Intersection of Health Care, Education and the Law. Redefining Disability: Legal Protections for Individuals with HIV, Genetic Predispositions to Disease, or Asymptomatic Diseases

Law, Medicine & Ethics - Problems and Prospects:
Organ Transplantation - Issues relating to Organ sale. And Organ donation-Right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment-End of life issues and advance directives-Allocation of scarce medical resources-

Health Care Law and Genetic Disease Diagnosis and Treatment:
Interface of Bioethics and Law- Problems- The Future of Genetic Disease Diagnosis and Treatment- Implications for Genetic Privacy, Family Disclosure and the Law- Gene Therapy- Public/Private Priorities Concerning Access to Genetic Information

Patents and Healthcare Sector:
atents and Healthcare sector- legal and human right issues- Patents on drugs, treatments , diagnostics and medical techniques-Medicinal Patent Pools- Issues of Accessibility and affordability. The promise and perils of patentability of Human gene -Issues of availability affordability and accessibility

Medical Research - Legal and Ethical Issues:
Ethics and legality of Medical research- Research with Children -Women and other vulnerable groups- judicial interventions- The New Legal and Policy Landscape At the Crossroads-questions of sanctity of life and human dignity

Health Law & Malpractices - Recent Trends:
Health law and the New Malpractice Legislation: Opportunities, Solutions, Patient Safety, Tort Reform, and Patient Compensation

Call for Papers:

  • The organizers of the Seminar calls upon the legal fraternity, Academicians from other social science disciplines ,Doctors, Administrators, young and upcoming research scholars, social activists and the representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations to present their well researched papers at the seminar, relevant to the avowed themes.
  • An abstract not exceeding 200 words shall be submitted for consideration. The abstract shall contain the Synopsis of the Paper, Subtitles, Reference materials for each subtitles and conclusion indicating author's perspective.
  • The abstract along with the duly filled registration form must be mailed to on or before 7th April 2014.
  • The papers shall be screened by a committee and the papers approved by the committee shall be accepted for presentation in the conference. The intimation of selection will be made through email before 9th April 2014.
  • An advance copy of the full length paper shall be sent by email on or before 19th April, 2014.
  • The full length paper shall be 15 to 20 pages neatly printed in double spacing in MS word Document, using 12 point font size for text and 11 point font size for footnotes. The paper shall contain the name designation, postal and e-mail address and telephone numbers of the contributors. (Please note that selected full length papers will be published as an edited book.)
  • There is no Registration Fees.
  • The duly filled registration form shall be sent to the organisers on or before 19th April, 2014 for the smooth conduct of the seminar proceedings.

Dr. K.C. Sunny
Director of Seminar
Professor and Head, Department of Law
University of Kerala, Kariavattom
Trivandrum - 695 581
Phone: +91-9446705416

Dr. Bismi Gopalakrishnan
Organising Secretary
Phone: +91-9446427447


Download Registration Form

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