Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights
By Ann Taket
Routledge – 2012 – 224 pages
Important links between health and human rights are increasingly recognised and human rights can be viewed as one of the social determinants of health. Furthermore, a human rights framework provides an excellent foundation for advocacy on health inequalities, a value-based alternative to views of health as a commodity, and the opportunity to move away from public health action being based on charity.
This text demystifies systems set up for the protection and promotion of human rights globally, regionally and nationally. It explores the use and usefulness of rights-based approaches as an important part of the tool-box available to health and welfare professionals and community members working in a variety of settings to improve health and reduce health inequities. Global in its scope, Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights presents examples from all regions of the world to illustrate the successful use of human rights approaches in fields such as HIV/AIDS, improving accessibility to essential drugs, reproductive health, women’s health, and improving the health of marginalised and disadvantaged groups.
Understanding human rights and their interrelationships with health and health equity is essential for public health and health promotion practitioners, as well as being important for a wide range of other health and social welfare professionals. This text is valuable reading for students, practitioners and researchers concerned with combating health inequalities and promoting social justice.
‘In Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights, Ann Taket explains the importance of linking health and human rights, and how combining these concepts into a human rights framework can support public health and health advocacy efforts.
Taket first describes and analyzes global, regional, national, and subnational human rights systems, and the mechanisms these systems use to address human rights. She also delves briefly into the theories, covenants, and charters that govern both the health and human rights communities as well. In describing the theory behind the "right to health," Taket points out that human rights should be considered as a key social and cultural determinant to health. She also evaluates the relationship between health equity and human rights, as well as the effects of human rights on health and social policy.
Taket and her contributing authors incorporate case studies in her framework proposal, thus providing examples of the inherently similar discourse that can be used to describe human rights and health issues. For example, in her chapter on "human rights and health equity," Taket provides both domestic and global perspectives, looking in one case at the importance of protecting and promoting health rights of indigenous Australians and focusing on domestic violence as public health and human rights issues. With these examples, the interrelationships of human rights and health are demonstrated to be essential in expanding the field of public health and in understanding illness and disease.
By combining a theoretical and judicial framework with concrete case studies and charts, Taket provides a convincing argument about the "instrumental value" in considering health problems as human rights issues.’ – Health and Human Rights.
‘Chapters 1–4 provide a good deal of useful information, much of which will be new to most readers with a public health background, and gives a good sense of some of the institutional settings within which rights-based health advocacy can take place…and provides some thought-provoking pointers as to how public health practice might fit within a broader programme of emancipatory politics.’ – Critical Public Health.
1. Health Equity, Social Justice And Human Rights 2. The Global Human Rights System 3. Regional Human Rights Systems 4. National And Sub-National Human Rights Systems 5. Human Rights And Health Equity 6. Evaluating The Human Rights Effects Of Health And Social Policy 7. Addressing The Sexual And Reproductive Health Needs Of Adolescents In South Africa – A Human Rights Analysis Of The GOLD Peer Education Program Melika Chiswell 8. Mid-Day Meal Scheme In Madhya Pradesh: The ‘Ruchikar’ Or Relishing Mid-Day Meal Scheme (RMDMS) Arjun Singh 9. Tobacco Prevention Strategy In Styria, Austria: A Human Rights Analysis Michaela Adamowitsch 10. National Mindmatters Project: A Retrospective Human Rights Analysis Carmel Treacy 11. The Instrumental Value Of Human Rights In Health Brad Crammond 12. Success Or Failure: How Useful Are Rights-Based Approaches In Public Health?
Ann Taket is Professor of Health and Social Exclusion in the School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Australia, and Director of the Centre for Health through Action on Social Exclusion (CHASE).