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The human rights approach to health care
A human rights approach to health, making it a fundamental right, can ensure equity and justice in access to healthcare. This can address the social determinants of inequity and poor quality of healthcare which is the lot of marginalized communities.
The rights approach to health can address the inequalities arising out of social gradients. While sound in theory this approach can face challenges both in concept and in practice. If health is a right, then someone has to be accountable to ensure this right; this is difficult to decide. Some may hold the individual responsible for this "right" which can lead to victim blaming when health is impaired. It does not simplify matters that definition of health itself is elusive. However, given these limitations there are three issues which are tangentially or directly related to the rights approach to health care. These are: non-discrimination, right to the benefits of science and the right to health.
Non-discrimination is the key to human rights approach. International human rights conventions proclaim that all people should have equal opportunity and treated equally. Any discrimination on basis of race, color, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc, is a breach of a government's human rights obligations. The state should ensure protection from discrimination in relation to issues such as shelter, occupation and access to medical and health care. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights states that "all are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law from all discrimination and from all incitement to discrimination relating their state of health."
Right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress
This implies that governments should enable the pursuit of scientific endeavor and disseminations of the beneficence resulting out of such pursuits. For instance, it should ensure access to essential medicines for all people.
The Right to Health.
The right to health is mentioned in Article 12 of the United International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UNICESCR). It recognizes the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.