Why women’s health is a vital part of global human rights

Mothers

Mothers in Ghana
(Image courtesy of Gesu Antonio Baez for ISUOG Outreach – Ghana)


10 December was Human Rights Day. When Hillary Clinton made the statement, “Women’s rights are Human Rights” during the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing, it rocked global consciousness in recognising women’s rights as an integral part of human rights. But what about women’s health?  Is it a part of human rights and how does ISUOG defend this? ISUOG’s International Development Officer, Gesù Antonio Báez, explores this topic further.

 

It would be foolish to believe that women’s health didn’t play a crucial role in global women’s rights or human rights in general. Yet somehow, despite the numerous international conventions and covenants that have been championed by the UN and its global partners, women’s health has been pushed as merely a topic for development and humanitarian endeavours, as clearly demonstrated with the now defunct Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and newly initiated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this past September.

Of course, this is not to belittle its category as an important item on the developmental agenda; in fact, it’s paramount to it! But women’s health amounts to so much more than as a single task to accomplish in a nation’s pursuit towards overall development. Because truth be told, women’s health – particularly their right to quality healthcare – is vital not just for global development, but crucial in the fight to defend women’s rights. For if women are the backbone to society and essential for a country’s empowerment, then denying them adequate healthcare is both a violation of their human rights and a denial for a country in achieving its true potential in global development.  Human rights are, first and foremost, a matter of preserving dignity and guaranteeing women access to competent doctors and health services is a task in which all nations and key human rights agents must be willing to invest upon in order to properly demonstrate their commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the international community exactly 68 years ago on 10 December 1947.

As an agent for women’s health, ISUOG’s mission is to ensure that every woman has access to competent ultrasound scanning and that OB/GYN conditions are effectively diagnosed because it is a women’s right – her human right – to receive proper treatment and care.

Either via an ISUOG Approved Course in Nigeria, a World Congress in Rome, an International Symposium in India, or an Outreach program in Papua New Guinea,  ISUOG strives to ensure this sacred right is respected and honoured by empowering OB/GYN professionals with the necessary skills needed to conduct a proper scan with quality educational resources, no matter where in the world they are located because the key to ISUOG’s mission is every woman.

Women’s rights are human rights as Hillary Clinton said nearly twenty years ago in Beijing, but women’s health is a fundamental part of this because it honours the women’s right to live. Through ISUOG’s mission and role in the important task of upholding this right, I believe we are on the way towards making an overall respect for this right completely universal.

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