Is There a Relationship Between Health and Human Rights?

Is There a Relationship Between Health and Human Rights?

Human rights advocate for a specific way of treating people in every aspect of life ranging from birth, education, employment, marriage and health. Human rights and health are related because they all orchestrate the well-being of human beings and the population and are concerned with discrimination and disadvantaging (Hunt, 2006, p. 605). In this essay, a description of human rights will be provided and its connection to health established. The essay will explain why upholding human rights results into a healthy population and vice versa. 

By virtue of being a human being, there are things that one is entitled to regardless of any other factors. These entitlements are referred to as human rights. When these entailments are violated, there results an increase in mortality and morbidity. Therefore, health programs are bestowed with the responsibility of protecting human rights. When a person is conceived, they are entitled to highest attainable physical and mental health standards.  In the earlier years, before the 1990’s, the rights to these attainable standards were on the margin. However, from the 90’s onwards, health standards have become human rights mainstream hence presenting health professionals with wider challenges and opportunities. For instance, in Niger, the UN commission for human rights approaches Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) through the right to health. The report by the human rights commission on how to handle poverty has its pillars laid on public health features such as availability of essential and high quality medicine at affordable prices. Campaigns on main health problems as well as prevention and control form part of the human rights report on how to effectively eradicate poverty.

Human rights can be realized directly by implementing a right-based approach in administering public health nursing care. Human right organizations have the mandate to run campaigns and enlighten people on what their rights are. To form a strong human rights campaign, there must be setting of goals and formulation of objectives.  The universal principles in such campaigns are found on indivisibility, interdependence, inalienability, interrelatedness, equity, inclusion, accountability, nondiscrimination and the rule of law (Ivanov, 2013, p.235). Inalienability and universality advocated for freedom and dignity for all human beings. Public health nurses need to be abreast with the consequences of violating human rights. Just like the education, poverty and race are sensitive to health, and they are all human rights, health needs to reciprocate the sensitivity. In conjunction with policy makers, public health sectors should work to diminish social injustices in the community. To pass public health policies that protect human rights of individuals and the population at large, legislators need to be enlightened on the importance of policies that protect and promote health. 

In conclusion, there is strong and direct relationship between human rights and health. By administering attainable health standards, human rights are preserved and by enforcing human rights, proper health is observed in a community. The essay has highlighted how proper health measures can be instrumental in protecting human rights. Also, the essay has demonstrated how collaboration between health sectors and human and legislators can set round rules which are publicized by human rights organizations to realize a healthy population. 


Hunt, P. (2006). Human right to the highest attainable standard of health standard: New opportunities and challenges. Journal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 100, 603-607. 

Ivanov, L. (2013). Public health nursing, ethics and human rights. Public Health Nursing, 30(3), 231-238. 

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