Introduction

In regards to healthcare, the WHO Constitution states, …the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.” Understanding that quality healthcare is a human right places responsibility on states to ensure that people can access the care they require. It is also important to acknowledge that access to quality healthcare is a part of the right to health as written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other documents and treaties. However, half of the world’s population goes without essential health services. Therefore, teaching about lack of access to quality healthcare is an important topic for students to analyze the problem and to identify creative solutions to the critical issue.

Resources

There are a variety of resources available to teach about lack of access to healthcare around the world. There are lesson plans that cover skill development and how to teach students about the healthcare system so they can access it later in life. There are also a variety of videos and case studies on global healthcare issues around the world that can be brought into the classroom to encourage students to think critically about access to healthcare as a human right. Teachers can also explore additional resources to learn about organizations and movements that are involved in advocating for healthcare access as a human right. 

Lesson Plans

  1. The U.S. Healthcare Crisis: POV from PBS has a lesson that focuses on healthcare access specifically in the U.S. There is a case study on Americans’ experiences with the system and is perfect for high school students. There are also suggested clips students watch and a step-by-step activity for teachers to implement. This lesson also asks students to create a public service announcement in groups.
  2. Skills for Healthcare Access and Navigation: This lesson plan packet provides samples of different topics related to healthcare access and developing skills surrounding navigating the system. These lessons were designed with ESOL students in mind. They are extremely useful for preparing high school students for accessing healthcare throughout life. 
  3. A Healthy Start: The Global Goals for Sustainable Development created a lesson plan for middle school-aged students that teaches about healthcare quality around the world through a human rights lens. It challenges students to consider other countries. It also challenges students to consider their notions of “good health” and to expand their ideas on what they have agency over in terms of their own health.
  4. Health: Elementary Lesson Packet: This lesson packet has 280 minutes of materials for elementary students on global healthcare, general health care accessibility, and to understand their own health care They will also learn about healthcare initiatives they themselves can access and gain an appreciation for overall health and wellness advocacy. 

Articles

  1. Why US Healthcare Should Think Globally: This Medicine and Society journal article goes into detail about healthcare disparities around the world and why it is important for the U.S. to address these human rights issues.
  2. Here’s How to Improve Access to Healthcare around the World: This World Economic Forum article goes into detail about issues surrounding global healthcare access as well as offers suggestions on how to improve the lack of access around the world.
  3. Access to Healthcare around the World is not Equal. COVID-19 Proved That: Global Citizen illustrates how COVID-19 brought to light healthcare inequalities around the world. They also go into detail about how crucial preventative healthcare is and how COVID-19 further demonstrated this notion.

Informational Sites

  1. Global Learning and Awareness: Global Health: PBS has a variety of videos on global health issues. These videos are useful for teachers who would like to learn more about different issues as well as share these in class with students and have them discuss the topics.
  2. Why Education Matters to Health: Exploring the Causes: The Center on Society and Health discusses how education levels impact access to health care as well as longevity and overall well-being.  

Conclusion

Access to quality healthcare is a human right, but unfortunately, millions of people do not have access. Teaching about this issue is important not only so students can gain information and skills about gaining access to healthcare resources throughout their lifetime, but also to inform students on global healthcare issues and initiatives. It can also encourage students to think critically about solutions to this complicated issue as well as recognize the intersectionality of healthcare access as a human right.

Additional Resources

  1. Disparities in Health and Healthcare: This resource breaks down what the disparities in healthcare are, why they are important, and initiatives focused on addressing these issues. This resource also shares a useful chart that documents social determinants of health. 
  2. The Healthcare System of the Future: How Digital Health Technology is Transforming Care: This article from Modern Healthcare discusses how technology can transform healthcare access. It also provides a full report with case studies that demonstrate what the future of digital healthcare may look like.