Health workers, medicines, facilities – as necessary as all these are, they are not enough to achieve the goal of universal access to health services, much less to fulfill key aspects of the right to health, unless another critical obstacle to quality care is addressed. This is the pernicious, even lethal, stigma and discrimination that impedes people’s ability to access quality health services that respect the dignity of all users. It is incumbent upon governments, which should collaborate with health workers, civil society, and members of stigmatized populations, to develop and implement comprehensive strategies to reduce and eliminate this stigma and discrimination.
Physicians for Human Rights has created a guide to assist policymakers, health workers, and civil society comprehensively respond to stigma and discrimination in the health sector, and to secure patients’ rights:
- Ensuring Equality: A Guide to Addressing and Eliminating Stigma and Discrimination in the Health Sector (pdf)
PHR has also created factsheets targeting these three key audiences to help orient them to their roles in this response: