Abstract – A human rights approach to quality of life and health: Applications to public health programming

 Armando De Negri Filho

Health and Human Rights 10/1

Published June 2008



Approaching health as a basic human right has a profound impact on the way we treat it politically. Viewing health as a public good — with both individual and collective dimensions — shapes the nature of health policies. The concept of a right to health can be used to formulate policies, organize systems and services, and develop actions that promote better health outcomes.  Building on experiences in Latin America, this article discusses lessons learned for achieving policies and health systems that contribute to building democracy into a system that guarantees social justice. Drawing on work in Latin American Social Medicine, it specifically proposes new ways of thinking about social fragility (instead of risks) and developing inter-sectoral programming to improve care, as well as to reduce inequalities among population groups. The article argues that a right-based approach can be a concrete tool for restructuring both public policies and action.