Original Research

Children’s rights education: An imperative for health professionals

Lori Lake
Curationis | Vol 37, No 2 | a1268 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v37i2.1268 | © 2014 Lori Lake | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 January 2014 | Published: 28 November 2014

About the author(s)

Lori Lake, Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa


The South African government has put in place a range of laws, policies and programmes that are designed to give effect to children’s rights and support children’s survival, health and optimal development. These rights do not just exist on paper. They have the potential to transform professional practice and improve the quality of care across a range of health care services. A child-rights’ approach requires nurses to act in the best interest of children, respect their evolving capacities, think more holistically about a child’s well-being and work with others to address the broader social determinants of health – such as access to food, water and sanitation. This article draws on lessons learned from a short course in children’s rights and child law for health professionals offered by the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Townfrom 2011–2014. It encourages nurses to reflect critically on their current practice and to take action to improve a child’s well-being. It also advocates for the inclusion of children’s rights to be at the heart of education and training, professional codes of conduct and standards of care.


child health, children's rights, child law, quality of care, professional practice, social determinants of health, education and training


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