The Role of IT in Global Health Disparities and Human Rights

The Role of IT in Global Health Disparities and Human Rights

Josephine Kershaw (University of Findlay, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-356-2.ch048
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In a global environment, a key challenge of health care and information technology (IT) management involves increasing the knowledge of human rights issues and addressing the health disparities that result when human rights are violated. This chapter aims to promote the awareness and protection of basic human rights as a 21st century imperative. Drawing upon the human rights conceptual framework, the chapter focuses on the following objectives: First, the chapter highlights direct and indirect linkages between health and human rights, with an introduction to the principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other health-related human rights documents. Second, the relevance of the globalization and the human rights framework for health care and IT management will be discussed. Third, the chapter presents initiatives in IT management solutions and policies with promising potential to enhance the health care and human rights situations of people around the world.
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The Right To Health

From an international scope, initial recognition of the right to health may be found in the United Nations Charter document (1945) and was elaborated further in the preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization (1946), with its assertion that: “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” At the foundation of the global human rights movement is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights attests for all humanity the “right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control” (UDHR, Article 25). Human rights are universal by virtue of their equal applicability to all people because of their humanity. As human beings, people are considered to be entitled to particular inalienable rights that are recognized by moral principles and affirmed by the laws of an organized society.

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