- Freedoms include the right to control one’s health and body (e.g. sexual and reproductive rights) and to be free from interference (e.g. free from torture and from non-consensual medical treatment and experimentation).
- Entitlements include the right to a system of health protection that gives everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the highest attainable level of health.
Health policies and programmes have the ability to either promote or violate human rights, including the right to health, depending on the way they are designed or implemented. Taking steps to respect and protect human rights upholds the health sector’s responsibility to address everyone’s health.
- The WHO Constitution enshrines “…the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.”
- The right to health includes access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality.
- Yet, about 100 million people globally are pushed below the poverty line as a result of health care expenditure ever year.
- Vulnerable and marginalized groups in societies tend to bear an undue proportion of health problems.
- Universal health coverage is a means to promote the right to health.
A human rights-based approach to health provides strategies and solutions to address and rectify inequalities, discriminatory practices and unjust power relations, which are often at the heart of inequitable health outcomes.
- Non-discrimination: The principle of non-discrimination seeks ‘…to guarantee that human rights are exercised without discrimination of any kind based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status such as disability, age, marital and family status, sexual orientation and gender identity, health status, place of residence, economic and social situation’1.
- Availability: A sufficient quantity of functioning public health and health care facilities, goods and services, as well as programmes.
- Accessibility: Health facilities, goods and services accessible to everyone. Accessibility has 4 overlapping dimensions:
- physical accessibility;
- economical accessibility (affordability);
- information accessibility.