Keywords: human rights, DEI (PubMed Search)
Posted: 12/26/2022 by Rachel Wiltjer, DO
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Universal Human Rights
Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whether our nationality, place of residency, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language defines , or any other status
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) defines seven substantive rights: the right to life, freedom from torture, freedom from slavery, right to a fair trial, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of movement
The right to life is the essential right that a human being has a right not to be killed by another human being. This has been central in debates on issues of abortion and euthanasia.
Emergency care is an often overlooked, but essential component of the right to life in the highest attainable standard of health and universal health coverage (UHC - a WHO description used to describe access to care). Particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged populations, emergency care is often the last chance for the health system to save a life.
The focus on vulnerable populations with little access to care and subsequent poor health outcomes has many similarities to the delivery of emergency care. Emergency conditions, such as traumatic injuries, disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries. About 90% of the burden of death and disability from injuries occurs in low- and middle-income countries
COVID-19 emphatically highlighted how far countries (and differences in regulations between states in the US) are from meeting the supreme human rights command of non-discrimination, from achieving the highest attainable standard of health that is equally the right of all people everywhere, and from taking the human rights obligation of international assistance and cooperation seriously.
Implementation of a rights-based framework for emergency care requires countries to enact legislation that ensures access to non-discriminatory emergency care and establish a regulatory body with appropriate oversight and authority to enforce these laws.
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