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UN Continues to Raise Concerns on Private Actors in Healthcare

UN Continues to Raise Concerns on Private Actors in Healthcare

Today, we release the updated version of the Compendium on Private Actors in Healthcare. The Compendium collects the Concluding Observations of United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies on private actors in healthcare. Based on a systematic search of the Universal Human Rights Index, spanning the years from 2006 to 2023. It is tailored to provide insights for researchers, academics, experts, and fellow civil society organizations striving to comprehend the intricacies of the right to health, particularly within the context of comments, concerns, and recommendations by UN treaty bodies regarding the involvement of private actors in healthcare. 

The Compendium shows that UN mechanisms are increasingly paying attention to the problem of private actors in healthcare. We found 15 new statements in only 1 year, for a total of 55 concluding observations from 6 UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies: the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),Committee against Torture (CAT) and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). 

From this practice, several cross-cutting normative elements emerge: 

  • States must assess the impact of any healthcare privatisation and ensure that it does not impede the realisation of the right to health. 
  • States must monitor and regulate private healthcare providers. 
  • Public-private partnerships are questionable in the light of the obligations to use resources effectively. 
  • States must ensure that private health insurance does not impinge on access to healthcare. 
  • States must address disparities between public and private healthcare systems, improving the quality of public healthcare services. 

 Read more about our work on the right to health and private actors here.

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