Jakarta, 3 October 2019 - Good health is a right afforded to everyone. Nonetheless, realizing the right to health is a challenge for many individuals and communities as evidenced by the continued rise of global health epidemics such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs account for some 41 million global deaths each year, and are the leading cause of mortality in the world today.
Yet while NCDs affect everyone, it is low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as Indonesia that carry the greatest burden with around 28 million deaths being annually attributed to NCDs. Meanwhile, health services are, in general, still in the reactive mode when it comes to serving the needs of the population. In fact, they often lack the capacity to treat non-communicable diseases, especially if these are chronic or long-term.
Individuals and communities can minimize the risks of NCDs by either making purposeful lifestyle changes or by not engaging in unhealthy practices in the first place (e.g. smoking, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity). Unfortunately, either option often proves too much of a challenge for many individuals and communities.
To ensure their right to health, individuals and communities must first realize, at the very least, both their right to information and to enjoy the benefits that application of scientific progress bring. This must include knowledge of and access to alternative or less harmful products such as low sodium salt, low calorie sweeteners and alternative tobacco products, for example.
In response to this issue, Foundation for International Human Rights Reporting Standards (FIHRRST) has completed a study examining the access to information and scientific innovation in Indonesia, particularly as this relates to alternative or less harmful products.