New Working Papers
The Digital Health and Rights project just launched two working papers that use contextual information and analysis to inform planning and future field research for the project.
“Digital Health and Rights: Context in Three Countries — Ghana, Vietnam, Kenya”, researched and written by Nomtika Mjwana (GNP+), Tara Imalingat (KELIN), Irene Kpodo (NAP+ Ghana), and Trang Pham paints a picture of the vastly different cultural and political landscapes in each country, their legal and policy frameworks, and trends in health and digital transformation. The paper underscores key risks and concerns, from gender inequalities, data privacy issues, and a lack of digital literacy, to challenges in reaching young people living with HIV and criminalized key populations vulnerable to HIV (men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, and people who use drugs). Most importantly, the paper highlights a major commonality: while digital governance in each country is weak, “all countries are undergoing rapid digital transformation, and offer real possibilities for constructive engagement in policy and implementation moving forward”.
More broadly, “Digital Health Rights: Initial Analysis” – by Sara (Meg) Davis, Nerima Were, and Tara Imalingat – develops an overall human rights analysis of inequalities in digital health, inspired by thinking from Dr. Tlaleng on intersectionality, gender inequality, and decolonizing global health. By examining how diverse and intersecting forms of inequality lead to direct and indirect discrimination that affect the right to health, chiefly for young women and marginalized groups, the paper draws attention to specific areas of work needed to promote and protect human rights, particularly within regional mechanisms, national jurisprudence, and UN guidance and ethical principles. It also raises the question of how the right to public participation in development cooperation may be reshaped in the digital age. Ultimately, the authors find that “to maximize the benefits and mitigate the risks of harm, sound digital health governance should be grounded in existing human rights norms, but also be continually informed by the robust and meaningful participation by affected communities in the decisions and designs that will shape their lives”.
Using this analysis, the research team at the Graduate Institute, University of Oslo, GNP+, KELIN, NAP+ and VNP+ have begun to collaborate on digital ethnography, conducting participant observation of discussions among young adults in online spaces to identify cross-cutting themes. This will inform focus group discussions and key informant interviews in Ghana, Kenya, and Vietnam.