Do citizens have a specific right to public health?


This map tells us whether nations include provisions to protect the right to public health for citizens in their constitution.

Only constitutional provisions are included in this map. Legislative protections are not shown here. Read more about why constitutions matter.

More information:

  • The right to public health includes the “defense of public health,” “access to preventive services,” “illness prevention,” etc. Each of these can be guaranteed in broad terms, such as the statement of a right to public health, and/or can be phrased more specifically, such as access to immunizations and health education. We considered the broad right to public health to be guaranteed when explicitly stated, or when these types of specifics appeared within a broader applicable context. For example, if access to immunizations was mentioned within the context of the protection of public health or disease prevention, the right to public health was considered granted, but if it appeared alone, the overall right to public health was not considered guaranteed.
  • Not granted means that the constitution does not explicitly mention the right to public health. This does not mean that the constitution denies this right, but that it does not explicitly include it.
  • Aspirational means that the constitution protects the right to public health but does not use language strong enough to be considered a guarantee in addressing the right to public health. For example, the nation will endeavor to protect public health.
  • Guaranteed means that the constitution explicitly guarantees the right to public health to citizens in authoritative language. For example, constitutions in this category might guarantee citizens’ right to public health or make it the State’s responsibility to ensure the protection of the right to public health.
  • There are no constitutions that only guarantee the right to public health to specific groups rather than universally.