Study Session 3
The elements of a child’s right to health are:
- To diminish infant and child mortality
- To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care
- To combat disease and malnutrition
- To provide pre and post-natal care for mothers
- To provide knowledge of child health and nutrition, breastfeeding, hygiene and how to prevent accidents
- To develop preventive health care, guidance for parents, and family planning education and services
- To abolish traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children
Taking a holistic approach means looking at the whole picture. Lots of things impact on the health of a child, including the way the health care system works and the environment in which the child lives. The right to health cannot be seen in isolation from other rights that children have.
The three levels at which the right to health applies are:
- At the level of the individual child: e.g. you need to involve the child in his or her own health care, consistent with their level of understanding.
- At the level of health services: e.g. you need to make sure that health services do not discriminate against any groups of children. In other words, make sure that they are all able to access the services they need regardless of whether they are a boy or a girl, have a disability, come from a poor family, or belong to a minority group.
- At the level of the environment: you can raise awareness of factors that are preventing children from achieving the best possible health, such as:
- polluted water supplies
- dangerous traffic areas
- high levels of violence against children
- harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation.