My mother died suddenly when only 55 years of age I was just 20 and suffering long term after effects of a road traffic accident.
Her nurturing legacy to me could be simply summed up in two basic principles, which I have tried to pass on and uphold in my own life:
Firstly; “Always remember you are no better or worse than anyone else” and just as importantly; “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Give and show respect – remember no one is perfect!
As time has gone by I have realised that these principles were a good foundation to understand human rights, with the UN Charter in 1948 setting the framework that in my view is as relevant and needed today as it was nearly 70 years ago.
AT THIS TIME, it is worth following the link and reminding ourselves of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
The Declaration, with its broad range of political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights, is not a binding document unfortunately, but it has inspired more than 60 Human Rights instruments that constitute an International Standard of Human Rights.
So what is the relevance to us in our daily lives?
Very simply, in part, it is to expect to be treated with respect, fairness, dignity and equality, without discrimination.
We do all have a responsibility and duty to others too and we do all need at times to protect the rights and freedoms of others.
I would argue that currently, for those living with the “outcomes” of long term conditions as a patient, service user &/or carer, that our basic human rights are too infrequently considered.
It is challenging enough in those circumstances, with rare pleasures mixed with pain, disease, hurt, frustrations and exhaustion.
Why is it that we can be made to feel inferior, alone and sometimes stigmatised, even discriminated against, by the very public sector services that are there to support and help improve our health and wellbeing?
That the “personal assets” we bring, through co-production working together, into our treatments may not be taken into account.
I would make the case that this situation could be improved for health and wellbeing by enshrining Parity of Esteem as a human right.
It would ensure equal treatments for all conditions, whether physical or mental health, with training, funding and commissioning distributed accordingly.
It would be about looking at the ‘whole person’ and their needs, which I believe would improve OUTCOMES with sustainability both to individuals, the caring services and of course, the health economy.
In these challenging times around the world, it is all the more important that we all stand up for Equality, Justice and Human Dignity.
After writing this blog and remembering my mother…… I now am counting my few blessings, but hope others find it thought provoking.
Evelyn Bitcon (Carer, Advocate & voice for the vulnerable, as well as having own long term health conditions), C4CC Co Production Group member