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Lecture 5

Week 5 readings

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Health Studies
Toba Bryant

Week 5 Human Rights Approaches 1.) Staying Alive: Chap. 4: Rioux, M. The right to health: Human rights approaches to health. A human rights and social justice approach enables the use of various categories of rights and recognizes how rights have to be a concern in thinking about approaches to health and social policy that enhance, rather than diminish, the well-being of all people. o Human rights can include economic, social, political, civil and cultural rights (i.e. right to life, freedom of opinion, the right to work, social protection and adequate standard of living, education, cultural freedom etc) Health as Ethics Decisions about health are related to how we see ourselves as individuals and societies our fundamental values and beliefs. A shift is taking place while there continues to be a focus on the individual patient benefit and on questions of individual rights to medical benefits: o Our society is more diverse and pluralistic many diverse views in society. This means we cannot assume shared values or a common story there is a competing demand that cannot be resolved at the individual level (need to focus on community and society) o Science and biotechnology are progressing at a rapid rate o There are obvious inequalities in the way in which health care, health status, biotechnology and drugs are made available to people. A Social Imperative Using human rights is a means to making equitable health outcomes a social imperative What are the building blocks of health and human rights? o The right to the highest attainable standard of health was first introduced in the WHO constitution, which was adopted by the World Health Conference in 1946 It was reiterated in the 1979 Declaration of Alma Atal and in the World Health Declaration (by the World Health Assembly in 1998 The General Comment recognized the relationship of the right to health to other rights including the right to food, housing, work, education, access to information, freedom of association etc. The right to health is more than access to health care and applies equally to other social determinants of health o The General Comment set out 4 criteria for evaluating the right to health: Availability included adequate public health (including sanitation and safe drinking water) and health care facilities as well as sufficient trained personnel and essential unexpired drugs Accessibility under this criteria, there are 4 categories: non-discrimination: physical accessibility, economic accessibility, and information accessibility. Acceptability is health care provided with attention to criteria of medical ethics, cultural sensitivity, gender and life cycle needs and confidentiality Quality o These international instruments outline a normative standard for the right to health Measuring the Right to Health Paul Hunt (UN Special Rapporteur on health) proposes the following as categories for taxonomy to classify initiatives: o The availability of health facilities, goods and services within jurisdiction
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