Theo Gavrielides (Independent Academic Research Studies)

International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

ISSN: 2056-4902

Publication date: 16 March 2015


Gavrielides, T. (2015), "Editorial", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. 8 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHRH-01-2015-0004



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Volume 8, Issue 1

I am particularly delighted to introduce Issue 8.1 as it opens a new era for our journal which has been renamed as the International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare (IJHRH). In its eighth year, the Journal will retain its unique practical approach to promoting equality, inclusion and human rights in health and social care focusing on the most marginalized communities of our societies. In fact, we have taken a conscious decision to increase our international impact and thus instead of four we will be publishing five papers per issue.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 150 million people globally suffer financial catastrophe annually, and 100 million are pushed below the poverty line as a result of health care expenditure. Vulnerable and marginalized groups in societies tend to bear an undue proportion of health problems. One of the unique contributions of our Journal has been its exclusive focus on health and social care issues impacting on ethnicity and racial inequalities. This focus and expertise will not change.

The right to health is a fundamental part of our human rights and of our understanding of a life in dignity. It is within this context that we have refreshed the terms of our Journal aiming to bridge some important gaps in the provision, protection and further development of the basic values and legal principles underlying human rights for marginalized and excluded communities. These relate both in the provision of health and social care services as well as the creation of those conditions that allow all individuals to freely enjoy their basic right to health. Since the Journal's inception we have witnessed an important growth and evolution in the “health and human rights movement”, and this journal, which has also evolved, has often played an important role by providing a forum for robust interchange of ideas among practitioners, scholars and activists.

“The world needs a global health guardian, a custodian of values, a protector and defender of health, including the right to health.” Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO said. IJHRH will contribute to this mission by publishing scholarly research and practice-focused articles and case studies which:

  • explore what is currently known about discrimination and disadvantage with a particular focus on health and social care;

  • push the barriers of the equality discourse by identifying new avenues for practice and policy;

  • create bridges between policymakers, practitioners and researchers; and

  • identify and understand the social determinants of health equity and practical interventions to overcome barriers.

As we welcome 2015, this first issue brings to the fore some key healthcare issues impacting on some of the most excluded communities. As a truly international journal, the articles explore these issues in the USA, India central and Latin America.

The first paper “Recommendations from an American Indian reservation community-based suicide prevention program” looks at effective community-based suicide prevention strategies. It explores the argument that they require culturally relevant contextually driven approaches, validated by community members in order to be successful. The paper argues that existing literature, funding agencies and polices do not adequately address the differences in community vs non-community definitions and approaches to suicide prevention. These differences and the process must be articulated to fully understand the complexities of effective American-Indian community-based suicide prevention strategies. Seven recommendations emerge, which provide new insight about the process in which American-Indian communities define, develop and implement suicide prevention strategies that are culturally relevant and community driven.

The second paper “Self-vis-á-vis-proxy reported morbidity prevalence among adults in India: a study based on the National Sample Survey” looks at the National Sample Survey (NSS), the only large-scale household survey in India periodically collecting data on morbidity and health care conditions in the country. Through a quantitative analysis, the authors examine whether the use of proxy respondents influences population estimates of morbidity prevalence rates and factors associated with morbidity prevalence rates among adults based on latest 60th round NSS data on morbidity and health care. It is the first manuscript that has made an attempt to examine the effect of proxy reporting on morbidity prevalence in NSS data.

The third paper “Addressing unmet need and religious barrier towards the use of family planning method among Muslim women in India” continues the journal's focus on India by focusing on the religious barriers to the use of contraception among Muslim women in India. The study also addresses their future intention to use family planning method. The paper uses data from the latest round of District Level Household and Facility Survey (DLHS 3) in India and in particular 70,016 currently married Muslim women across the country. The paper generates some important recommendations including putting an emphasis on couple's knowledge, attitude and perception towards acceptance of family planning methods, public-private collaboration to promote family planning programmes as well as the need for support from the religious leaders. This is the first ever effort to address the existing unmet need for family planning among Muslim women in India, which is an important determinant of high fertility among Muslim women.

The fourth paper “Challenges in recruiting hard-to-reach populations focusing on Latin American recent immigrants” looks at the feasibility of using a quasi-random sampling strategy for recruiting recent Latin-American immigrants. Based on new scientific research, the paper demonstrates that recruitment rates of recent immigrants and refugees can be improved by randomly selecting census tracts with high concentrations and numbers of recent immigrants and using culturally appropriate recruitment strategies.

Finally, the fifth paper “Racial-ethnic differences in childhood higher body mass index: insurance status explanatory model” examines the prevalence of obesity using higher body mass index (BMI), assess ethnic variance in overweight prevalence. The paper aims to determine whether or not insurance status explains the variance. A cross-sectional design was used to assess medical records of children in Nemours Healthcare System during 2011. The research concludes that racial and ethnic disparities exist in childhood higher BMI, which were not removed after controlling for insurance coverage as a surrogate for socioeconomic status. These findings are indicative of assessing sex, religious, dietary patterns, physical activities level, environmental resources, social media resources and geographic locale as confounders in ethnicity and higher BMI association. Understanding the predisposing factors to obesity among diverse populations is essential in developing and implementing intervention programmes.

The diverse papers in this issue suggest certain themes to consider both for public health professionals, and for scholars interested in evaluating the impacts of ethnicity, race and human rights in health and social care. As I close this Editorial, I quote the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the charter whereby our international community agreed health as part of the right to an adequate standard of living (art. 25). The right to health was again recognized as a human right in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. I look forward to welcoming new submissions that will contribute to this international commitment and the mission, values and ambition of our unique Journal.

Theo Gavrielides