Health and Human Rights

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Dialogues on Being Human: The Intersections of Art, Health and Dignity The Dialogues on Being Human: the Intersections of Art, Health and Dignity series seek to make health and human rights issues more visible and comprehensible, by harnessing the power of art to convey the linkages between being human, living with dignity as a subject of rights and well-being; and to provide space to explore inter-disciplinary forms of knowing and sharing the human experience. Upcoming Events. Recent Publications. Chris Beyrer passed away on April 1 after a brief illness.

Mike will be greatly missed by all who were lucky enough to know him. Read the obituary.

International Women's Health and Human Rights

The report, based on almost interviews with organizational managers and front-line health workers, identifies these challenges and makes recommendations to humanitarian organizations to develop processes to address the questions in a structured and systematic way. Access the full report here. The science is clear, HIV criminalization is abusive, discriminatory and counterproductive. Center Director, Dr. Click here to read the complete blog post. The UCL—Lancet Commission on Migration and Health steps into this political debate to provide evidence for cooperation and action on what is one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century.

The Right to Health: A Human Right Enshrined in International Human Rights Law

Based on salary scale, Medicaid was available to citizens and residents if their annual income was USD 24, for a family of three; that is the cut-off or poverty line. With the full implementation of Obamacare, 4. The US has a high maternal mortality, compared with Singapore and Japan. Here are two examples. A woman with five previous pregnancies, whose immigration status was questionable, presented to the hospital with postpartum bleeding and dizziness.

When the patient felt better, she was turned away. At a second hospital, she felt breathless, then bled and collapsed while her insurance was being checked. As it was an emergency, she was immediately attended to and given treatment. She was discharged home three days later with no medication or follow-up.

Another woman who had no insurance and lived in a remote reservation for natives died of an undiagnosed heart problem after giving birth to her second child. She did not receive any antenatal or medical care, as the nearest medical facility was two hours away. The problem in the US is that people with no insurance are often denied healthcare unless they present with an emergency. So, if an uninsured person presents with a ruptured appendix, he or she would be given emergency treatment.

However, if it is mild appendicitis, the person would likely be turned away without treatment. Maternity care is no different. Another emerging problem in the US is its rising Caesarean section rates It is estimated that delaying Caesarean section to 39 weeks could lead to savings of about USD 1 billion. This is one of the greatest social inadequacies of our time. Abortion is a human drama. No woman would unnecessarily subject herself to physical, mental and emotional torture.

So, if a woman opts for an abortion, she should not be treated like a criminal; this clearly violates her right to non-discrimination. The majority of abortions in Sri Lanka are unsafe, as they are performed illegally under septic conditions by underqualified people. Generally, these abortions are done in women aged 35—39 years who already have children. There was an attempt in to propose an amendment to the law on abortion to allow for termination of pregnancy in special cases, such as rape or incest and congenital abnormalities that were incompatible with life.

However, the Amendment Bill was withdrawn by the then-Minister of Justice and was not voted on in Parliament. Thus, the amendment to the abortion law was not passed. I shall now talk about the second incident mentioned earlier, concerning the violation of basic human rights in healthcare.

This is a case involving the death of a young mother at University Hospital Galway, Ireland, which sparked a series of protests and demands for an official enquiry into her death. The report, which was completed in June , revealed a series of mistakes. Savita Halappanavar, a dentist, was a year-old primigravida who was 17 weeks pregnant.

WHO | Health is a fundamental human right

She presented to the hospital with a backache and lower abdominal pain on the morning of 21 October The healthcare practitioners examined her and found her to be well enough to be discharged. In the afternoon, the patient noticed that her membranes were bulging out of her vagina, so she pushed them back in and returned to the hospital the same afternoon.

The doctor and midwife checked her abdominally and vaginally, but did not use a speculum. They did not notice any bulging membranes. A full blood count FBC was ordered and the patient was hospitalised for observation. However, no doctor reviewed her test results, which showed a white blood cell count of 16, The next day, a consultant examined the patient and found that her blood pressure was normal with a pulse rate of 95— bpm. Fetal heartbeat was present. The maternal pulse and blood pressure were supposed to be checked four times a day at four-hour intervals, but they were only checked twice each day.

By evening, the patient was having nausea and vomiting, and was unable to eat.


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She was already septic by then, but no one seemed to have noticed it. Her inability to eat was attributed to her preference for non-Western food. In the early hours of the morning, the patient was given extra blankets, as she was feeling cold and had chattering of teeth. She continued to feel unwell and had a pulse rate of bpm. At that time, the house officer who came to check on the patient decided not to disturb her, as she was asleep. A few hours later, her pulse rate increased to bpm and there was a foul-smelling discharge.

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Fetal heart beat was still present. When the consultant arrived for the ward rounds, she was not informed of the brownish, foul-smelling discharge. As the fetal heartbeat was still present, the consultant continued to observe her condition. She went into septic shock followed by multi-organ failure, and died. When asked if the patient should have had a termination from a purely medical point of view, I replied that termination should be made possible when there is a risk to the health of the mother, as distinct from her life.

The final outcome of the enquiry was that medical recommendations, such as guidelines, induction programme, ISBAR I dentify, S ituation, B ackground, A ssessment and R ecommendation , escalation pathway, multidisciplinary team, were implemented. A change in legislature was also requested for termination of pregnancy to be allowed if there is an immediate threat to life or permanent ill health. Eventually, the legislation was passed allowing termination of pregnancy for only immediate threat to life.

Is Health Care a Human Right?

Although we have scored a point for human rights, my views are that the new abortion law will still not prevent Savita-type of deaths because infections can escalate rapidly and rampantly; one moment, there can be no threat to life, but the patient could take a very bad turn within an hour. So, there is more that needs to be done. In conclusion, human rights abuse in health happens every day, both in research and clinical practice.

As healthcare practitioners, we need to be conscious of the ten health-related human rights in our daily practice. More importantly, we must not be a participant in human rights abuses. If you are ever forced to participate in any inhumane activities, you should seek help from national or international organisations. Finally, if you have spare time, consider volunteering for worthy causes in places where people are deprived of human rights. Remember, it is the right of these individuals to enjoy good health. He has been in clinical practice for 37 years and in research and teaching for 25 years.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Singapore Med J v. Singapore Med J. Sabaratnam Arulkumaran. Copyright and License information Disclaimer. The experiment should be designed and based on the results of animal experimentation. The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified people. Human rights and torture The first aspect of human rights focuses on research, while the second relates to clinical practice. Rights-based approach to medical practice: ten competencies For physicians to have a rights-based approach to medical practice, they need to have the competencies to apply the principles of human rights to the daily practice of healthcare.

Right to life Everyone has the right to life. Right to health Everyone has the right to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health.

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