Health is a constitutional right

Since the Tunisian revolution, the right to health has been one of the most important axes of social mobilisation in the interior regions and border governorates.

Illustration of four medical professionals, two men and two women, wearing blue and white doctors outfits and wearing masks.

Citizens have called for improvements to public health facilities and services, including the provision of specialised doctors and establishment of university hospitals, as well as an end to corruption and the democratisation of the sector’s governance by involving beneficiaries in the provision of its services.

The 2014 constitution explicitly states that everyone has the right of access to health in Chapter 38, which says “health is a right for every human being.”

The state guarantees prevention and health care to all citizens and provides the means necessary to guarantee the safety and quality of health services.

The state guarantees free health care for the unsupported and low-income. It guarantees the right to social security coverage, as provided by law.

However, this constitutional right did not entail policies that guarantee its implementation on the ground. Indeed, the budget of the Ministry of Health witnessed a decline after the revolution, which deepened the deteriorating role of the state in healthcare provision.

In this context, International Alert Tunisia launches an awareness campaign ‘Health is a constitutional right: yes to an increase in the public health budget.’

The campaign extends over three months and aims to

  • Concretise Chapter 38 of the Constitution through public policies and societal initiatives that guarantee the right to health.
  • Support civil society’s involvement in defending the public health sector as a public facility that guarantees equal access to medical treatment.
  • Democratise public health sector governance to ensure the participation of female citizens and citizens who receive this service in its evaluation and in reform processes.