Essay about Health Issue of Female Genital Cutting

Essay about Health Issue of Female Genital Cutting

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Should a community have to choose between the right to practice their culture and the right to health? The right to health is a highly contestable right, especially when it may conflict with traditional rights or local customs. In the article “Health Systems and the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health,” Paul Hunt and Gunilla Backman discuss the components of a health system and how to implement it and right to the ‘highest attainable health.’ Notably among the components, Hunt and Backman argue that there is a need for “international cooperation [to actualize] health as a global public good,” a “respect of cultural differences,” and balances between “competing human rights” (83-86). Many irreconcilable conflicts arose, when Hunt and Backman applied their framework to the violation of the right to health, which health committee members discussed in Bettina Shell-Duncan’s article “From Health to Human Rights: Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and the Politics of Intervention.” Shell-Duncan’s article covers the implications of realizing FGC as a right to health because of its cultural importance. In this paper, I will use the health issue of female genital cutting to explain how actualizing “the highest attainable standard of health” as defined by Hunt and Backman can lead to many conflicts that their framework fails to resolve.
The Hunt and Backman’s article explained a right-to-health approach that would serve to improve health systems. Their article presents the position that health is a human right, which local and national stakeholders must hold to the “highest attainable standard,” based on assumption on the World Health Organization’s Constitution (1946) and the Declaration of Alma-Ata (1978). In this paper, ...


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.... Shell-Duncan did not expound on the ‘pressure’ applied to those countries. I charge that ‘pressure’ in any form may lead to resisting the wanted results because the impacted communities would resent the intervention methods. Although, critics of my interpretation could argue that some form of ‘pressure’ is necessary to actualize agreements and change. Yet, I argue the oppressed could view outsiders as interference, whereas nations that are more powerful could start to control progressively more of lower-income countries.







Works Cited

Hunt, Paul and Gunilla Backman. “Health Systems and the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health.” Health and Human Rights 10.1 (2008): 81-92. Print.
Shell-Duncan, Bettina. “From Health to Human Rights: Female Genital Cutting and the Politics of Intervention.” American Anthropologist 110.2 (2008): 225-236. Print.

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