The following is a guest blog by Omar Koroma and Masseni Sally Kone, students from Ark Walworth Academy in London.
Hello, my name is Omar Koroma. My partner and I, Masseni Sally Kone, are students from Walworth Academy sixth form who are engaging in work experience with the Just Fair organization. I am an aspiring radiologist who is currently studying Biology, Chemistry and History. Masseni, on the other hand studies Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. She too aspires to study Medicine and wants to become a doctor. Just Fair is a non-governmental organization which primarily focuses on the rights of the people, their aim is to strive for social change and raise awareness of the socio-economic issues within British societies. Moreover, they perform their work by helping to ensure that all UK citizens have full entitlement and are represented fairly in the criminal justice system and government. These are principles that we, as students aiming to work in the healthcare sector, highly value, such as the right to health and life which is linked to medical ethics. Due to our career path choices, we decided to do research into the following rights: health, life, housing, water and sanitation.
During our virtual work experience placement with Just Fair’s Social Rights Alliance we researched about Human Rights and this is some of what we learnt:
The Right to Health is normally paired with free access to health care services and hospitals. The right to health involves freedom, which refers to the right to be free from medical treatment that is unethical such as experiments, research, and mandatory sterilization. The right to health involves entitlements such as:
· The right to a health system that protects and provides equal opportunities for all individuals to attain a better quality of life.
· The right to stop, treat and control diseases.
· The right to have entry to vital medicines.
· Health services and its facilities should be made accessible for all members of the population in ample quantities, accessible financially.
· Medical ethics should be followed and must be of excellent quality i.e. expired drugs.
· When receiving health care treatment public authorities must protect an individual’s rights as long as it does not violate the rights of the other members of the population.
The Right to Life suggests that no one can attempt to end your life. Moreover, if an individual's life is at risk, they have the right to be protected; as well as this, the NHS needs to acknowledge an individual’s right to life when making decisions that could affect their life expectancy. For example, if an individual has been refused lifesaving treatment, if there is a ‘do not resuscitate order ‘on an individual’s file without their consent, if an individual has passed away due to severe abandonment/mistreatment.
The Right to adequate housing refers to the right to have sufficient housing, privacy, security, space, lighting, ventilation, and an adequate location to one's workplace. The right to an adequate living standard is about being able to maintain wellbeing, one’s family’s wellbeing, there should be enough food, clothing, housing, and sufficient medical care. Furthermore, this also includes the right to security in case the individual becomes unemployed, sick, disabled, widowed, old in age or other scenarios that are not within his/her control.
We learnt about Right to Housing and how it relates to different groups on the UN habitat website.
The Right to water gives all members of the population the entitlement to have physical access to safe and affordable water for personal or domestic use for free. The right to Sanction also gives everyone the right to have fair access to sanitation in all areas of their lives which are: safe, hygienic, socially, and culturally acceptable. Predominantly, the quantity of water must be enough to meet their basic needs in terms of bathing, cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Ultimately, the quality of water must be shielded and free from contamination as water should not contain substances that can pose a threat to the individual’s health.
Lack of access to free water is one of the worlds unsolvable issues with around 2.5 billion people without access to proper sanitation. A former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan even commented on the situation stating that “Access to safe water is a fundamental human need,” and also, “Contaminated water jeopardises both physical and social health of all people.”
In conclusion, from working with Just Fair we have learnt that despite our personal circumstances, we are privileged enough to live in a society where people have more rights given to them. The majority of these rights are given to individuals at its minimum. Thus, there is a need for institutions such as Just Fair to ensure that these rights are fully fulfilled, and all UK citizens are treated with equality.
We would like to thank Susanna for providing us this opportunity as we were able to gain a deeper understanding of our current society which will help us in our future endeavours into the medical profession.