Human rights: the way forward for health equity in rural and remote Australia?

Human rights: the way forward for health equity in rural and remote Australia? Conference Paper

10th National Rural Health Conference: Rural Health: the place to be...

  • Author(s): Julaine Allan, Patrick A Ball, Margaret Alston
  • Published: 2009

Abstract: Australia has a poor human rights record. This is demonstrated by the 17 year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The health of rural Australians continues to be poorer than urban Australians. While rurality is identified as a factor affecting both health status and human rights there is limited attention given to it in the Australian research literature. The Australian government is a signatory to the UN Declaration of human rights. Health is identified as a critical component of that declaration. However, the declaration does not currently influence the planning or delivery of health care. This paper argues that a rights-based approach to health has significant benefits in planning and delivering health services to rural and remote Australia. Firstly, the social, cultural and economic factors affecting health can be addressed. Secondly, those most affected by poor health are not responsible for lobbying for more or different services. Thirdly, a minimum standard of health care access and availability directs the allocation of resources. Finally, an holistic view of an individual’s care and support needs prompts innovative strategies for transport and accommodation for example. International examples of rights based health care from the World Health Organization and The International Federation of Social Workers are described. The process of enacting human rights principles for Australian health is discussed using case examples from different stages in the lifespan.

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Suggested Citation
Julaine Allan, Patrick A Ball, Margaret Alston, 2009, Human rights: the way forward for health equity in rural and remote Australia?, Conference Paper, viewed 19 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3078.

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