Lancet & LSHTM Global Health Lab: What is the contribution of human rights to global health?
8 October 2013

Sridhar Venkatapuram, King’s College London
Gorik Ooms, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp
John Tasioulas, University College London

Every country in the world is now party to at least one human rights treaty that addresses health-related rights. Human rights provide a powerful discourse and means to promote and protect health and well being. Prominent examples of its effective use include increasing access to antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive rights, and improving mental health care. However, challenges include the implementation and enforcement of the right to health and potential tensions between individual rights and population health needs. This Global Health Lab seeks to discuss these benefits and challenges and explore the contribution of human rights to global health.
Martin McKee, ECOHOST, LSHTM and Richard Horton, The Lancet

From BBC World Service - Health Check Programme
Being interviewed about the BRICS and Global Health Report.

Listen to it here.   18 minutes.


A new report suggests that foreign assistance from the so-called BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – is increasing at a much faster rate than that from the G7 countries. Claudia discusses the impact this could have on the world’s health with contributors to the report Sridhar Venkatapuram from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Kirill Danishevskiy of Moscow Medical Academy, and the lead author David Gold - co-executive director of Global Health Strategies Initiatives.

Q & A at the Geneva Health Forum.

Keynote address at Geneva Health Forum 2012  

'Health, politics, and social justice' Starts at 42:30 (20 mins)


What does the history of famines in India teach us about public services in the UK today?
What is a good life? What is a good society? These are questions that have been asked for thousands of years, and are still pricking at us today. Like a lot of big questions, looking at patterns from the past oftentimes provides inspiration for the decisions we should make in the future.
In the 1970s and 80s, Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen examined the data from a series of catastrophic famines in India. It helped him come to a surprising conclusion about their cause, and about the ways governments can help or hinder the people they serve. This was the birth of the capabilities approach, which focuses on helping people expand what they are able to be and to do.
Already influential in development economics, we feel the capabilities approach is an idea whose time has come for the UK as well.
We’ve put together a short video explaining what a capability is, where the idea came from, how we’re already applying it in our services, and why we want other people to use it too. If you’re short on time, here’s our usual ‘best bits’ digest so you can jump to the point that interests you most:
We’d like to give special thanks to our friend and associate Dr. Sridhar Venkatapuram, who lent both his voice and his extensive knowledge of the capabilities approach to help us make this video. He is a is a Lecturer in global health and philosophy, and Director of the MSc in Global Health & Social Justice at Kings College London. He was the first researcher at Human Rights Watch to specifically focus on health as a human rights concern, and is author of the book Health Justice: An argument from the capabilities approach.
If you’d like to know more about the capabilities approach and how we’re using it to revive the welfare state for the 21st century, you can read these posts by our founder Hilary Cottam or former NASA engineer and measurement specialist Amanda Briden. For more background on capabilities in the developing world, we recommend Martha Nussbaum’s book Creating Capabilities.

Theories matter or why capabilities approach

I am currently working on adding audio to the presentation.  Apologies.

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