Laboratorio Diritti Fondamentali publishes report on right to health


healthThe Laboratorio Diritti Fondamentali (LDF) has recently published "Health as a Fundamental Right: A study on migration and healthcare in Turin" (Italy) co-authored by Irene Biglino and Anthony Olmo.


The study aims to identify the various barriers encountered by migrants- despite their legal status- in accessing and utilizing health services in Turin. In the introduction to the report it clarifies that these can either be: "legal, social, cultural or institutional". It also seeks to frame the concerns which emerge within a human rights framework through a normative content of the right to health as articulated in international human rights law. Finally, it aims at prompting additional reflection on the importance of integrating human rights perspective healthcare policies, strategies and legislation in a national context.


The publication concludes by stating that there is certainly "room for improvement" at a national level regarding migrants access to health care systems. On a more positive note it states Turin has "a unique system that often succeeds in providing solutions to the numerous problems experienced by migrants." This system is based on close collaboration between public service health providers and non-profit and voluntary sector which complement and complete the service gap.


It includes both qualitative and quantitative data which was gathered by an interdisciplinary research team. The qualitative data was collected through a field investigation based on semi structured, in depth interviews with key actors at the local level, including staff of public hospitals, emergency wards, social services, cultural mediators as well as representatives from local, regional, community and voluntary organizations. The quantitative date was provided by LDFs research partner, the Regional Epidemiology Unit in Turin.


The publication clearly stresses the benefits of an approach based on human rights specifically focusing on the right to health. It states: "The integration of a human rights perspective in ongoing health and migration discourse in Italy, both at the national and local levels, provides a solid normative framework anchored on entitlements and corresponding responsibilities".


The study also takes into consideration other integral components of the right to health such as, adequate nutrition and housing, healthy working and environmental conditions, and finally access to education and information. In the publication itself it states: "the right to health is used a yardstick against which the findings of our research are measured, in order to ultimately asses the degree of realization of the right under scrutiny in the research area".


In the forward written by Vladimiro Zagrebelsky he states: "To cite a phrase often found in rulings issued by the European Court of Human Rights, this study does not concern itself with rights that are theoretical or illusory but rights that are practical and effective".


By Thomas Pavan-Woolfe


Source: Laboratorio Diritti Fondamentali- "Health as a Fundamental Right: A study on migration and healthcare in Turin"