Module 2: Module 2 - Children’s rights and the law

Introduction to Module 2

This is the second module in a course of five modules designed to provide health workers with a comprehensive introduction to children’s rights. While the modules can be studied separately, they are designed to build on each other in order.

Module 1: Childhood and children’s rights

Module 2: Children’s rights and the law

Module 3: Children’s rights in health practice

Module 4: Children’s rights in the wider environment: role of the health worker

Module 5: Children’s rights: planning, monitoring and evaluation

Module 2 provides you with an introduction to the legal basis for children’s rights. It is important to understand how the way of working in health care promoted in this course is supported by international agreements and national laws. The module comprises three study sessions, each designed to take approximately two hours to complete. The sessions provide you with a basic introduction to the subject and are supported by a range of activities to help you develop your understanding and knowledge. The activities are usually followed by a discussion of the topic, but in some cases the answers are at the end of the study session. Please compose your own answer before comparing it with the answer provided.

  • Study Session 1 focuses on the international and regional conventions and agreements on children’s rights that all the countries of East Africa are signed up to. Specifically, you will find out about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. By the end of the session you will be familiar with many of the key sections of these important documents and have had the opportunity to think about how they apply to your work as a health practitioner.
  • Study Session 2 builds on your knowledge of the international agreements and explores how their principles are translated into the national laws of each country. It is important to understand what rights children have and how the law protects those rights. The session focuses on four aspects of the law particularly relevant to health workers – the right to be cared for and looked after, the right to protection from violence and abuse, the right to information, and the right to be heard and involved in health care decisions. By the end of the session you will understand how to respect children’s rights in your day-to-day work, and how to recognise and take action if you see that their rights are not being respected by others.
  • Study Session 3 explores the meaning of the right to health. You will already have learned about the right to health alongside the whole range of children’s rights. However, understanding health in more detail is obviously important in your practice role. By the end of the session you will understand how the right to health is made up of many different elements. Some of these are about health care at your own facility, but the study session will also look at the wider issue of health care provision and the importance to children’s health of the social context; for example, the provision of clean water.

1 International and regional laws