Dear HIFA colleagues,
[Please continue to complete our 5-minute survey: www.hifa.org/survey2023 We now have 573 responses!]
I would like to open a discussion on question 4 of our survey:
Q4: Access to reliable healthcare information is (or should be) a human right
Do you: strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree or strongly agree?
In my response to this question, I put 'strongly agree'.
But I had to qualify this in the optional comment box. I pointed out that Access to reliable healthcare information is already recognised as a determinant of the right to health, although it is not specifically recognised as a right in itself.
The implications of this are discussed in a white paper that HIFA published with the New York Law School. For background, see: https://www.hifa.org/about-hifa/hifa-universal-health-coverage-and-human...
There are some who believe access to healthcare information should be a human right in itself.
Pragmatically, I'm not sure there is a watertight case for this and it would take years of wrangling. Why not focus on the fact that it is already recognised as a determinant of the right to health?
As such, governments have an obligation to ensure that their citizens have access to reliable healthcare information. It is clear that many governments do not fulfil this obligation. As we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, some governments actively ignored this obligation and even proactively spread misinformation.
I look forward to your comments.
HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: email@example.com