Every country in the world is now party to at least one human rights treaty that addresses the right to health or other health-related rights. This module will discuss health as an issue of social inequalities and will show how inequalities get reflected in the health of individuals, groups, and communities. Apart from analyzing and comparing violation of health rights in different countries and social contexts, the course will outline the strategies of successful access to the right to health. The role of social workers in the realization of these strategies will be examined and highlighted.
Some fundamental concepts related to health and social inequalities such as resilience, recovery, and the life course perspective will be contextualized and discussed in a global perspective. Human rights are relevant to many health issues, like access to education and information on health, drugs and harm reduction, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/ AIDS, health of marginalized and vulnerable groups: women, ethnic and racial minorities, refugees and asylum seekers, long-term patients and people with disabilities including mental health problems. Culture and social inequalities will be discussed in the framework of health, social injustices and human rights issues.
Social work is assigned to play an important role in the process of access to the right to health, whether it refers to the achievement of the optimal health status, health service delivery or health related social policies. The role of power and participation, stigma and discrimination, strategies and successful models of participation, people’s and NGOs networks and “health citizenship” concept will be examined with regards to the conditions for success to be achieved in various contexts. The course will use an intersectional perspective, within which gender, disability, age, ethnicity, social, and economic status will be taken into consideration.