Human Rights

Physiotherapy is subjected to national laws, regulations and professional standards of practice that governs the profession.  We should be aware of relevant international declarations and national laws in areas such as human rights, equal opportunity, racial and gender discrimination, privacy, freedom of information, workplace accidents and injuries. The human right to health guarantees a system of health protection for all.

During my clinical placements I have always witnessed patients being treated badly by nurses because they have some power over them.  Treating patients as if they do not have any rights. Forgetting that all patients have the right to be treated fairly without any discrimination and with regards of whom and where the patient is from.  A positive disposition should be displayed by health care providers( nurses, Doctors or physiotherapist) that demonstrate courtesy, human dignity, patience, empathy and tolerance.

As a physiotherapy student I have come to realize that being involved with healthcare, education and social care brings forth an ethical responsibility. This ethical mindset means that we are responsible for both the other and ourselves in a mutual relationship, which is agreed as being universally human, while respecting the possibilities and needs of a certain period of time and culture.

Everyone has the right to access to health care services that include treatment and rehabilitation that must be made known to the patient to enable the patient to understand such treatment or rehabilitation and the consequences.Patients are entitled to be treated respectfully and appropriately by health care personnel. Members of the personnel address patients without violating their dignity, personal beliefs, or privacy. Special requirements arising from the patient’s ethnic/cultural background or mother tongue are to be taken into account as far as possible.

In the constitution of the Republic of South Africa, The National Health Act 61 of 20039 aims to protect and promote the rights of the people of South Africa to include access to health care services, an environment that is not harmful to health or wellbeing, basic nutrition and health care services for children and vulnerable groups.


Krefting, L. (2009). The Culture Concept in the Everyday Practice of Occupational and Physical Therapy. Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics, 11(4), 1-16.


One Reply to “Human Rights”

  1. Well done, very good post. despite it being a good post and an interesting topic it seems as if most of the ideas in your blog is based on your opinion. i like the fact that you explored more than one idea of human rights in general :).


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