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About this subject
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October - Dual-Delivery
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This interdisciplinary subject explores the meaning of the right to health (and supporting rights). The subject examines the principles and practical applications of a rights-based framework in law, policy, programs, and advocacy to further the health and well-being of diverse population groups, including children, women, indigenous people, people with mental illness, disability, and refugees and asylum seekers. It also considers the human rights framework in relation to global challenges including climate change, conflict, nuclear disarmament, and intellectual property laws. These case studies will be used to contrast human rights with dominant approaches to health policy and programs, and reflect on contemporary debates on the legitimacy, relevance, and utility of human rights. The subject will also explore the confronting linkages between rights violations and health harms, as well as rights infringements that improve public health.
The conceptualisation of health as a human right can be traced through the formation of the United Nations, the World Health Organization Charter, and the Alma Ata Declaration on primary health care. More recently, it has underpinned social mobilisation for the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS, of people living with disabilities, of LGBTIQ+ communities and individuals and of the movement pursuing universal health coverage. Drawing on these movements, the subject is grounded in the field of global health, which recognises the universality of human rights, and the global nature of the structural factors that influence the realisation of the right to health in both high- and low-income countries and their colonial or imperial origins. The subject will draw on case studies from Australia and elsewhere to examine the human rights obligations of nation states to their citizens and internationally, as well as the obligations of other political, economic, social, and cultural institutions. These case studies will draw on an interdisciplinary lens, encompassing international law, sociology, public health, and other fields. The subject is facilitated by a team of recognised experts in different areas of human rights and health. It aims to demonstrate the relevance of human rights principles to any sphere of health policy and practice, and inspire students on the possibilities for further investigation, action, and advocacy to advance both global health and human rights.
Health and Human Rights is a dual delivery block mode intensive subject. This means that the assessable material is delivered through self-directed online modules that students complete over a six-week period. The online modules offer flexibility in relation to the timing of when students complete them, or what hours of the day they may choose to study. However, allocated modules must be completed in time to allow effective participation in live interactive sessions that are linked with those modules. Live interactive sessions are held one day a week across the six-week period, in which module material is discussed with fellow students and lecturers. Students may choose to attend these live sessions online or face to face. Students are expected to commit approximately 80 hours to learning over the six weeks, comprised of learning modules, reading, discussion board activities, group work and live sessions. This six-week teaching period is followed by group work and independent learning towards three pieces of assessment to be completed over the following six weeks.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Apply human rights principles to diverse areas of health policy and programs in both an Australian and global context, acknowledging both the strengths and limitations of the Human Rights based approach;
- Interpret the relationships between human rights and health, demonstrating an appreciation of the potential for tensions between and need to balance competing rights, and distinguish between human rights and other normative approaches to health policy, programs and advocacy;
- Analyse the human rights dimensions of public health challenges in diverse contexts, and how these relate to diverse population groups, different types of health conditions, and global issues with important health implications;
- Demonstrate skills for advocating for public health policies and programs that reflect human rights principles in their design, implementation and evaluation.
- Apply critical thinking and analysis
- Apply problem-solving abilities
- Find, evaluate and use relevant information
- Persuasively argue a case using written and oral communication skills
- Undertake collaborate group work
Last updated: 9 September 2023