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Keywords:

  • consumer participation;
  • cultural diversity;
  • ethics medical;
  • health;
  • human rights;
  • public policy

Abstract

Context  The right to health requires States to achieve the highest standard of health attainable for all. A culturally sensitive approach is needed to respect States’ interpretation and implementation of the universal right to health, and document their progress.

Objective  This viewpoint suggests how to harmonize the (i) human right to health and (ii) the particularism of State values and interests.

Strategy  I describe the ‘thickness’ with which individual States recognize the right to health, as a dimension of universality, and then implement that recognition, as a dimension of particularism. Recognition and implementation by States need to be thick to demonstrate ‘glocal’ rationality, as characterizes the right to health as a Webberian ideal type. Examples of variation in the thickness of States’ interpretation and implementation of the right to health are discussed.

Conclusion  It is possible to work towards harmonizing the right to health, and State particularism, by maximizing the thickness with which individual States recognize this right and progressively implement it.