New Health Policy Tool for Assessing Inclusion and Human Rights

A new article in the journal Health and Human Rights (Vol 13, No 2, 2011) illustrates a framework for analysis of the inclusion of human rights and vulnerable groups in health policies. While the tool was specifically developed for assessing health policies in Africa, it offers insights that can be applied elsewhere, such as guiding policy questions for the inclusion of disadvantaged groups, and definitions of key rights-based concepts (ranging from non-discrimination and autonomy to accountability).

The full assessment framework and examples of its application are available in the form of a manual. The tool was developed by the Equitable Project, an ongoing six-country research project studying access to health care for vulnerable people. 

From the manual:
The manual outlines “an analytical framework [EquiFrame] for assessing the degree to which social inclusion and human rights feature in policy and policy-related documents. […] In its current form it is directed towards health policy-oriented researchers and policy-makers. It is hoped that this framework can be used to support the systematic review of the content of health policies, as well as being a means of facilitating greater social inclusion and human rights in the revision of existing policies and the development of new policies.
EquiFrame allows the analyst to identify the strengths and weaknesses in current policy according to how strongly, or weakly, the policy advances the core concepts of human rights in healthcare among vulnerable groups.
EquiFrame essentially provides an approach to analysis – a framework- that can be customised to the requirements of the purpose of the analysis. For instance, Vulnerable Groups and Core Concepts may be added or removed to suit specific requirements, political, cultural or other contextual interests or constraints.
If human rights and social inclusion do not underpin policy formation, it is unlikely equity will be inculcated in service delivery…. Through its discernment of policy commitment to core concepts of human rights and vulnerable groups, underpinned by the principle of universal and equitable access to healthcare, EquiFrame stands to promote the United Nations’ call for Health for All, with its implicit assumption of universal and equitable access to healthcare.”

Download the manual here.