3.5 A holistic approach to the right to health
A holistic approach to the right to health involves looking at the whole child and recognising that the best possible health can only be achieved if health is looked at alongside other rights.
You can think of this as being at three different levels – the individual child, the health services and the wider society. Investing in health requires investment on all three levels:
- At the level of the individual child
How do health services treat individual children in terms of respect for their dignity?
How do health services respect a child’s right to be involved in decisions and to make their own choices in line with their age, maturity and competence?
- At the level of health services
Are all the services which children require, available to every child without discrimination?
- At the level of the environment
Are all necessary measures being taken to create an environment in which every child can be as healthy as possible?
Are all necessary measures being taken to provide every child with the opportunity to develop as fully as possible?
In other words, the right to health needs to take into account:
- the experience of the individual child
- the quality, range and scope of health services
- the environment in which the child lives.
As you look at each of these three areas in more detail, which are also shown in Figure 3.1, note what you think your role as a health practitioner is.