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Curationis

versão On-line ISSN 0379-8577

Curationis vol.31 no.1 Pretoria  2008

 

RESEARCH ARTICLE

 

Human rights and health: Challenges for training nurses in South Africa

 

 

L LondonI; L Baldwin-RagavenII

IMD. Health and Human Rights Programme, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town
IIMD. Henry R. Luce Professor of Health and Human Rights, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

The need for health professionals to address their human rights obligations has emerged in the last decade both internationally as well as nationally following the findings of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Support for human rights norms has become a priority for institutions as well as practitioners within the health sector. Training plays a crucial role in shaping health professional practice. In addition to creating a clear understanding of the linkages between human rights and health, educators can role-model how health professionals should act to support human rights. This article explores human rights derived from the South African Constitution in relation to the obligation on health professionals to respect, protect, promote and fulfill human rights. The implications of this commitment to human rights training of nurses are discussed, drawing on the authors' nine years of experience in running courses for South African health professional educators. Themes include: developing core competencies for human rights in health professional curricula, identifying appropriate instructional methodologies and assessment tools suited to the content and context of human rights, and engaging the institutional environment for human rights teaching, at both the level of institutional culture and strategic implementation. At a time when there are increasing demands on the nursing profession to assume greater responsibility and develop versatility in its scope of practice, key challenges are posed for teaching and realising human rights.

Key words: Human rights, health professionals, nurses, constitution, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


 

 

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Correspondence:
Prof Leslie London
Health and Human Rights Programme
School of Public Health and Family Medicine
University of Cape Town
Health SciencesFaculty Anzio Rd, Observatory, 7925
Tel: (021) 406 6524; Fax: (021) 406 6163
E-mail: leslie.london@uct.ac.za

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