AN EXAMINATION OF THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN’S RIGHT TO HEALTH UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA
Every individual is entitled to the full protection of their rights because they are human beings. Men and women also experience health challenges but because women go through some biological and social processes that carry health risks like pregnancy and child birth they require adequate health care to be able to fulfil these roles. The research aimed to examine women’s right to health as a neglected issue that leads to maternal and infant mortality; to examine women’s right to health as a fundamental human right whose importance is such that no derogation should be encouraged and also to explain how socio-cultural practises contribute to abuse of women’s right to health. The main objective of the research is to show that the Nigerian legal system has not been able to capture the extent of women’s right to health under several international Conventions that Nigeria is a party to. In line with these aims and objectives, questionnaire and interview survey was administered on health professionals and women, hospitals were also visited in order to determine how lack of healthcare facilities and personnel affect the status of women’s health in Nigeria. The methodology used in the research is both empirical and doctrinal. The research observed that there is a plethora of international and national laws and instruments that aim at protecting women’s right to health but lack of political will on the part of government and cultural beliefs hinder the enforcement of some of these laws. An analysis was made of the international and domestic legal framework for the protection of women’s right to health in Nigeria, the challenges militating against the protection of these rights were discussed and recommendations were proffered that Nigeria should be willing to perform its obligations under the international convention to which she is a party including the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa also known as the Maputo Protocol, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) et cetera. Judicial Activism should be encouraged in Nigeria. The right to health should be treated as an extension of the right to life as has been done in India. This is because the provisions of Chapter 11 of the Indian Constitution are pari materia with Chapter 11 of the Nigerian Constitution on Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy.