Medicine and Public Health, Ethics and Human Rights


Nowadays one can observe the tense connection between public health, medicine, human rights, and ethics; it can be explained by a number of medical challenges, viruses, and shocking epidemic promotion. It is necessary to investigate the principle links between the issues in order to identify the ways of medicine and ethics interconnection and realize the key elements of their functioning in modern society. The modern development of medicine and human rights system appeared to be under the power of state government that is why challenges in the ethical behavior of the population, caused by right violations, can result in epidemic brunt and high spread of dangerous viruses within the society.

Public Health and Medicine

The differentiation between medicine and public health is to be clearly identified; one of the central issues contrasting these two notions lies in population emphasis and individual medical care. It is necessary to underline the fact that the modern public health sphere is predominantly aimed at measuring possible threats to population health through the development of various governmental policies; medical care, in its turn, is basically focused on individual treatment, diagnosis, and rehabilitation.

Besides, it is necessary to underline the fact that these issues cover different systems of analysis and methods of work; nevertheless, there is a strong link between them which can be explained by the necessity of a sound biomedical basis for public health functioning and successful serving to the society. This aspect involves a number of qualified practitioners being an integral part of every medical field; thus, for example, in the United States, medicine professionals’ pieces of training are considered to be the principal task for the public health and medical care service, in order to update and develop their skills and get new experience.

The central public health mission defined in 1988, by the US Medicine Institute, appeared to be the process of conditions ensuring providing health for the community; as a result, one of the essential tasks is concentrated on the investigation of such ‘societal conditions’ allowing to reach physical and mental well being of the community. The question has a direct relation to socioeconomic factors, covering such aspects, as education, income, and job classification. Research centers managed to prove the dependence of human social position on their state of health; stresses and emotional breakages caused by poor life and lack of means for appropriate education are the principal causes of diseases.

Ethics and Human Rights

Public behavior and public health are two interrelated notions providing influence on each other; dietary choices, smoking, alcohol intake, and physical fitness provide a considerable impact on human health. Ethical behavior and language are involved and developed in the sphere of medicine; it is necessary to stress that the ‘ethical’ concept has been presented in the medicine in the form of individual relationships, demonstrated through the adaptation to settings, practice, and medical care expectations. Medical ethics language is usually used for the determination of medical care organization or societal recourses allocation. Nowadays, ethical contribution to social development has been considerably decreased through the change of values and moral standards. (Schauer, 2001)

The analysis of the connection between human rights and public health is to be based on the following relationships:

  • Human rights potential burden caused by public health programs, policies, and practices.

It is necessary to stress that the modern public health system is under the influence of state power and is to be protected from human rights violations.

  • The inadvertent discrimination problem;

Various outreach activities may become the indicator of common social equality comprising the aspect of dominant language media message, though the problem of health breakages referring to some groups of people are completely ignored, such as, for example, sickle cell disease or breast cancer. Besides, the warnings of public health policies are resented without any concern as to the financial ability of the population. Nowadays, inadvertent discrimination is considered to be a widely spread phenomenon, though it is discriminatory and is perceived as a human rights burden. (Mann, 2007).

  • Human rights violations provide a direct influence on public health affecting mental, physical, and social well being;

It was investigated that any discrimination or violation of human rights leads to mental disorders which can be developed into serious health breakages. Solutions to this problem have not been documented yet, though they were established. Needle exchange is considered to be an innovative method of pressing the problem; this way can be used in the societies or populations never associating around health, such as drug users or sex workers in the USA.

  • The promotion of health is closely related to human rights promotion.

Human rights are based on a societal-level framework aimed at responding and identifying health determinants. Human rights are of pre-eminent importance contributing to the goals of public health through their instrumental value. It should be stated that reproductive health is closely dependant on so-called ‘reproductive rights’ comprising bodily integrity, education, privacy, rights in marriage, and divorce. It is necessary to underline the fact that the epidemic brunt is predominantly observed among ethnic and racial minorities, as well as injection drug users, and inner-city poor; in French, the promotion of AIDS is observed among the people living at the social margins.

Human rights and ethics derive from identical core values; the ‘human rights’ concept is considered to be a useful language for individual behavior guiding. This perspective explains the necessity of public health concentration of the function and structure of the society; the language of human rights, in its turn, is the method of considering, expressing, and incorporating norms and values into the response and analysis of public health.

So, it should be noted that public health work covers both, human rights framework and ethics being applicable to the individual practitioner of public health. The relationships analyzed the above-disclosed strong link between medicine and public health, as well as, human rights and ethics. (Paola, & Walker, 2009).


Profound changes in the system of medicine and rapid substitute of national values in modern society provide a direct impact on the public health system; the research conducted helped to identify the principle relationships between ethics, human rights, medicine, and public health reflecting the ways of their interconnection. Human awareness of medical care limits, the recognition of societal structure influence on the health care system, globalization, ineffectual and active policy of nation-states, provide a wide link between healthy vision and ethical norms perception.


Mann, J. (2007). Medicine and Public Health, Ethics and Human Rights. Contemporary Issues in Bioethics. 7th Edition, Thomson.

Paola, F. and Walker, R. (2009). Medical Ethics and Humanities. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Schauer, A. (2001). Ethics in medicine. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

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