Public health is an important issue in any country. The citizens of a country have to be physically and mentally healthy in order to perform their duties well. Society as a whole moves ahead when its health is taken care of. Any country that fails to provide proper healthcare to its people or is in the process of fighting or eradicating a disease is known to progress at a slow rate (example Yemen is fighting malnourishment amongst its children). Therefore, to ensure the health and safety of its citizens a country has to implement laws that protect their health and wellbeing.
Health in itself is a big issue. A person free from illness doesn’t qualify as being healthy because he might be having mental health problems. There are many aspects of health that need to be taken care of especially when the world is changing at a rapid rate. Thus in India, there are several laws that relate directly and indirectly to the health of its citizens. These laws have been passed and implemented since decades and new laws get introduced by the government.
Some laws directly affect health because they are related to consumption of food (or other substances like medicine) e.g. Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954. Others are related to some important factor that majorly affects the health of a person e.g. Social Security Law under which three separate acts have been implemented in different years.
Important health laws in India
Adulteration was a malpractice used to add harmful substances (like sawdust) in food items that looked similar to them. This act ensured that adulterated food would not be sold as it would damage the health of consumers. It came into existence from June 1, 1955 and is responsible under The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for selling unadulterated and good quality food.
Medicines are taken by patients to treat illness. If there are not standardised medicines then fake ones can be sold which can have severe effects on the health of patients. This act was made for strict standardisation of medicines available to all and ensuring equal quality medicines to be sold at all places. It also overlooked recognition of new medicines, implementing medical laws and policies, and providing license for the sale of vaccines.
Some Indian societies favoured having a child of particular instead of another. Due to this hospitals used to determine sex of a child in the pregnancy phase which would lead to foeticide. This act was introduced with the objective of preventing female foeticide. According to it, giving or getting information about the sex of foetus is a punishable offence, except for hereditary diseases.
Mental health is becoming a rising issue, not just in India but across the world as well. Depression is the leading cause of suicide. More than a million people commit suicide every year in India. While people are still facing mental issues more and more people are becoming vocal about it and mental health patients are reaching out to others for help. This was possible because of this act. It ensured protection of mentally weak or ill people and their sympathetic treatment.
Disabled kids need special attention than normal ones. They take time to grasp concepts and require different methods to learn from often in rehabilitation centres. This act works for both prevention and promotion aspects of rehabilitation such as education, training and employment. It helps create a suitable environment for people with disabilities to come together and learn from normal people (volunteers or workers).
These laws are applicable to industrial workers. It comprises their social issues and welfare that affect their health and wellbeing.
Occupational Safety Law
It is concerned with the safety of industrial and mine workers.
Social Security Law
It governs three laws under it –
Working and children are the vulnerable parts of society. Special laws are implemented to protect and take care of their rights which have an impact on their wellbeing. Some of the laws are –