In EMSA, embracing the fact that Human Rights are Inalienable, Indivisible and Universal, we believe too that Health is not a privilege which can be enjoyed by the most fortunate. However, as quoted by UHC2030 “Health is a human right… but we have a long way to go until everyone can get the quality health care they need and deserve”. Violations of human rights, not only contribute to and exacerbate poor health, but for many, including people with disabilities, indigenous populations, Roma, sex workers, refugees and asylum seekers, people who use drugs, transgender and intersex people, the health care setting presents a risk of heightened exposure to human rights abuses.

In this time of COVID19 pandemic, disadvantaged communities and vulnerable groups are particularly exposed to the health effects of unequal access to healthcare, inadequate housing, living and working conditions, which can result in even poorer health , further discussed in our Joined Statement with EPHA and 15 more organisations. Poor mental and physical health, and pre-existing health conditions are also likely to decrease their already weakened ability to combat the virus. Discrimination, racism and domestic violence are key contributors to restricting vulnerable people’s access to good quality healhtcare even more.

European Public Health Week and especially the day dedicated to “Equal Access to Health” on the 14th of May, provides us with the greatest opportunity of tackling this issue from various perspectives. Our aim on this day is to highlight to medical students how human rights violations affect vulnerable populations and their health, emphasising on the current situation of COVID19 and the role medical students have in their communities as future healthcare providers and potential human rights advocators.

Come to our Panel Discussion to meet Dr Apostolos Veizis from MSF Greece, talking about Refugees, Mr Adriatik Hasantari from ERGO Network, talking about Roma populations, Mr Klaus Lachwitz from European Disability Forum, talking about People with Disabilities and Ciánan Russell from ILGA Europe, talking about LGBTQI+ people. Our external speakers will discuss everything about COVID-19, Human Rights Violations and Access to Healthcare of the respective population.