UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health calls to strengthen safeguards in the digital world

Tlaleng Mofokeng, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, highlighted the need to regulate digital innovation to protect vulnerable groups and ensure remedies for rights violations caused by digital health technologies.

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Tlaleng Mofokeng, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, delivered a report highlighting the urgent need to revisit the right to health through digital innovation. Mofokeng stated that the rapid growth of digital innovation had been significantly impacting and redefining the right to health, empowering certain governments to uphold this right by ensuring the availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of health services. Mofokeng also stressed that employing digital transformation technologies without considering human rights could jeopardize economic, social, and political rights, particularly the right to health.

The right to health is essential, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine, for example, has sped up healthcare response time but also poses hazards to vulnerable populations. Technologies played a crucial role in responding to the pandemic, improving the global response, and minimizing harm. However, these technologies also pose risks to vulnerable groups. Regulating digital technologies is crucial for safeguarding the rights of vulnerable groups and ensuring legal remedies for those whose rights have been infringed by digital health technologies.