Children’s right to health: Theory VS Practice

Main Article Content

Ilaria Simonelli


Background: A research was conducted from 2014 to 2018 to understand the reasons behind the gap between the theoretical affirmation of children’s right to health and its practical realization. Hospitals and healthcare services were chosen as possible settings to understand these reasons and identify the gap.

Methods: Questionnaires (open-ended questions) were conducted throughout the year 2017 with Experts working at International level in the field of Children’s rights. A survey was set up using a structured multiple choice questionnaire in Italian, English and French. The survey was addressed to hospital staff (professionals; managers and administrative staff). All the results from the Experts’ questionnaires and from the survey were elaborated using Excel.

Results: Experts concluded that professionals still have to understand the full value of implementing children’s rights in Hospitals and that the United Nations should empower their own action in order to push States towards the respect and full realization of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The survey results seem to confirm that in healthcare settings professionals’ have difficulties in understanding how to relate to children in order to facilitate the full realization of their right to health.      

Conclusion. The investigation confirmed the existence of a ‘perceptive astigmatism’ as guiding factor for professionals’ behaviour towards children.

Article Details

How to Cite
Simonelli I. Children’s right to health: Theory VS Practice. ClinHealthPromot [Internet]. 2021 Aug. 24 [cited 2022 Nov. 30];11(2):e21012:1-7. Available from:
Original article


UN General Assembly (1989), Convention on the Rights of the Child, New York. Available at:

Amnesty International Report 2014/15, The State Of The World’s Human Rights. Available at:

Backman G, et al. Health Systems and the Right to Health: An Assessment of 194 Countries. Lancet. 2008; 372:2047-85. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61781-X.

Dyer L. A Review of the Impact of the Human Rights in Healthcare Programme in England and Wales. Health and Human Rights 2015: 17/2.

UNICEF (2013) Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: a statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change, Geneva. Available at:

Krippendorff K. Content Analysis: An Introduction to its Methodology. Beverly Hills, Sage Publications, 1980.

Cersosimo G. Salute e disuguaglianze: percorsi analitici [Health and inequalities: analytical pathways]. Milano, Franco Angeli, 2012.

Bergamaschi M. Ritorno dell'incertezza e nuovi rischi di impoverimento, in Sociologia urbana e rurale, Fascicolo 5, [Return of uncertainty and new risks of impoverishment, in Urban and Rural Sociology]. Minano, Franco Angeli, 2001.

Hughes EC. The Sociological Point of View in The Sociological Eye. Chicago, Aldine Atherton, 1964.

Freidson E. Profession of Medicine: A Study of the Sociology of Applied Knowledge, University of Chicago, Chicago Press, 1970.

Carter B. Chronic Pain in Childhood and the Medical Encounter: Professional Ventriloquism and Hidden Voices. Qual Health Res. 2002; 12:28-41. doi:10.1177/104973230201200103.

Shiminski-Maher T. (1993), Physician-Patient-Parent Communication Problems. Pediatr Neurosurg. 1993; 19:104-8. doi:10.1159/000120710.

van Dulmen AM. Children's Contributions to Pediatric Outpatient Encounters. Pediatrics. 1998; 102:563-8. doi:10.1542/peds.102.3.563.

Alderson P. Children’s Consent to Surgery. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1993.

Alderson P. Choosing for Children: Parents’ Consent to Surgery. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990.

Beresford BA, Sloper P. Chronically Ill Adolescents' Experiences of Communicating with Doctors: A Qualitative Study. J Adolesc Health. 2003; 33:172-9. doi:10.1016/s1054-139x(03)00047-8.

Epstein LT, Wayman KI. Interruptions in Development: The Communicative Context of the Young Hospitalized Child. Inf Young Children 1998: 10;32-43. doi:10.1097/00001163-199810030-00007.

Savage E, Callery P. Clinic Consultations with Children and Parents on the Dietary Management of Cystic Fibrosis. Soc Sci Med. 2007; 64:363-74. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.09.003.

Tates K, Meeuwesen L. Doctor–Parent–Child Communication: A (Re)view of the Literature. Soc Sci Med. 2001; 52:839-51. doi:10.1016/s0277-9536(00)00193-3.

Wassmer E, Minnaar G, Atkinson M, Gupta E, Yuen S, Rylance G. How Do Paediatricians Communicate with Children and Parents? Acta Paediatr. 2004; 93:1501-6. doi:10.1080/08035250410015079.

Maturo A. La sociologia della malattia in Achille Ardigò e nei classici della sociologia della salute [The sociology of disease in Achille Ardigò and in the classics of the sociology of health]. Milano, Franco Angeli, 2009.

Blumer H. Social Problems as Collective Behavior. Soc Probs. 1971; 18: 298-306. doi:10.2307/799797.

Most read articles by the same author(s)