Faiths Act Fellow Shazia asks “What do you do to help protect health as a human right?
Health. An aspect of our lives that is so deeply ingrained into our day to day actions that it can make or break our day. Take, for instance, the headache that comes knocking at 3:30 pm making the last few hours of the work day unbearable. Or, the mysterious cold that suddenly appears when you wake up causing you to take the day off of work. A sprained ankle on your evening run can make the morning commute a hurdle. Clearly, the number of aliments that can affects us on a day to day basis are vast and their implications can go far beyond missing one day of work.
Despite knowing the impact health can have on our lives, do we ever stop to think about the impact of health on the life of our neighbor? On the life of those who don’t have access to care. Do we think of health as a human right?
To me, there is no question that health is a human right. I don’t need an agency or organization to tell me it’s so. I know it because I see how lack of health care resources can cripple populations. Populations that are already home to some of the most disadvantaged, populations that are stricken with poverty and hunger. Without adequate supplies in the remote mountains of Hoya Grande, Honduras, without healthcare workers in the Ratburi Province of Thailand, and without antimalarial medication in the small village of Nkwenda, Tanzania, health will remain a right unfulfilled.
Now, you might have raised one eyebrow and said, “Well, of course I think health is a human right” but do you take it one step further and think about the shear amount of people living without that right? Do you take it two steps further and talk about it with your friend, co-worker, or family member? Do you take it to the point of action? It is because I feel so strongly that health is a human right that I wish to enter the medical profession, but you don’t have to go to medical school to make a difference.
This past December, Andrea and I hosted a SolidariTEA honoring health as a human right. Working in Washington D.C., it’s easy to become disenchanted when looking at the allocation of funds. However, by sitting down with a group of people and discussing the global health situation and raising funds, we were able to make a difference. It may be small, but it’s a step in the right direction.