New Delhi, June 28: ‘Healthcare’ to the one who need must be accessible in every corner of the world irrespective of his/her caste, sex, creed, money, status. As ‘healthcare’ is one of the fundamental need and right of the human being. According to World Health Organisation WHO, Discrimination in health care settings is widespread across the world.
Discrimination in ‘healthcare’ violates the most fundamental human rights protected in international treaties and in national laws and constitutions. Recognizing that discrimination in health care settings is a major barrier to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations entities commit to working together to support Member States in taking coordinated multisectoral action to eliminate discrimination in health care settings.
United Nations entities recalled that a central principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to “ensure that no one is left behind” and to “reach the furthest behind first”. Discrimination in health care settings is directed towards some of the most marginalized and stigmatized populations – the very populations that States promised to prioritize through the 2030 Agenda, and who are all too often excluded or left behind. Many individuals and groups face discrimination on the basis of their age, sex, race or ethnicity, health status, disability or vulnerability to ill health, sexual orientation or gender identity, nationality, asylum or migration status, or criminal record, often experiencing intersecting or compounding forms of discrimination.
Discrimination affects both users of health care services and health care workers. It serves as a barrier to accessing health services, affects the quality of health services provided, and reinforces exclusion from society for both individuals and groups.
Discrimination in health care settings takes many forms and is often manifested when an individual or group is denied access to health care services that are otherwise available to others. It can also occur through denial of services that are only needed by certain groups, such as women. Examples include specific individuals or groups being subjected to physical and verbal abuse or violence; involuntary treatment; breaches of confidentiality and/or denial of autonomous decision-making, such as the requirement of consent to treatment by parents, spouses or guardians; and lack of free and informed consent.
It is also present in the entrenched gender-based discrimination within the largely female health workforce, as evidenced by physical and sexual violence, wage gaps, irregular salaries, lack of formal employment, and inability to participate in leadership and decision-making.
National laws, policies and practices can also foster and perpetuate discrimination in health care settings, prohibiting or discouraging people from seeking the broad range of health care services they may need. Some laws run counter to established public health evidence and human rights standards. Evidence demonstrates the harmful health and human rights impacts of such laws.
Addressing discrimination in health care settings will contribute to the achievement of many of the SDGs, ensuring that no one is left behind. It is fundamental to securing progress towards SDG 3, Good health and well being, including achieving universal health coverage and ending the AIDS and tuberculosis epidemics; SDG 4, Quality education; SDG 5, Gender equality and women’s empowerment; SDG 8, Decent work and inclusive economic growth; SDG 10, Reduced inequalities; and SDG 16, Peace, justice and strong institutions.
Supporting States to put in place guarantees against discrimination in law, policies, and regulations by:
Supporting measures to empower health workers and users of health services through attention to and realization of their rights, roles and responsibilities by: