The human right to health and the challenge of poverty

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The human right to health has assumed considerable prominence as one of the most pressing international issues of the twenty-first century. This chapter examines arguments regarding how the mutually reinforcing cycle of poverty, inequality, and poor health affects the disease burden around the world, and considers why the right to health is widely compromised by global health disparities. It first traces the evolution of international concern with health as a basic human right. The following section discusses two competing frameworks—statist and globalist—for conceptualizing the meaning and value of health within current international policy. The final section analyses the right to health in terms of recognition theory’s emphasis on the intersectional injustices of poverty and inequality, which have deleterious effects on health as well as on identity and self-respect.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of International Political Theory
EditorsChris Brown, Robyn Eckersley
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198746928
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Human rights
  • Health
  • Poverty
  • Recognition
  • Burden of disease
  • Globalism
  • Inequality
  • Right to health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Statism


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