Universal access to essential health information ­ paper in BMJ Global Health (3) Access to essential health information and human rights

20 May, 2020

Neil, Geoff, Chris,

Congratulations on the publication of your paper in the BMJ journal of Global Health.'Universal access to essential health information: accelerating progress towards universal health coverage and other SDG health targets', authored by three HIFA steering group members (Geoff Royston, Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Chris Zielinski). It is open access and can be found at http://gh.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmjgh-2020-002475

Although universal access to essential health information does not appear in Sustainable Development Goals UHC targets or associated indicators it does appear in the following United Nations strategies which may be worth pursuing = even in these busy times:

[1] United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs - Disability

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)


Article 21 - Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to informatiion

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communication of their choice, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, including by:

a) Providing information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost;

b) Accepting and facilitating the use of sign languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative communication, and all other accessible means, modes and formats of communication of their choice by persons with disabilities in official interactions;

c) Urging private entities that provide services to the general public, including through the Internet, to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities;

d) Encouraging the mass media, including providers of information through the Internet, to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities;

e) Recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages.

[2] Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Yours Sincerely

Richard Fitton

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT gmail.com