World Social Justice Day: eMediNews contributes to social justice by ensuring access to updated knowledge and learning


Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Womens’ Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK’s Heart Care Foundation of India    20 February 2023

Today is World Social Justice Day and the theme for this year is “Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice”.


Social justice has been defined in many different ways. The UN defines it “as the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth”. According to the National Association of Social Workers, which is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, “social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.”


Simply put, social justice is equal and equitable access to resources, health, privileges and opportunity. It has also been called distributive justice. The keywords being equal rights and equal opportunities. The main principles that enable social justice are access, equity, diversity, participation and human rights.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which serve as a blueprint for global development, also advocate social justice by ensuring quality education (SDG 4) and reducing inequities (SDG 10).


Articles 10 (equality, justice and equity),11 (non‐discrimination and non‐stigmatization), 12 (respect for cultural diversity and pluralism), 14 (social responsibility and health) and 15 (sharing of benefits) of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights also promote social justice.


Education paves the path for social justice by empowering people with knowledge and skills that are necessary to be a part of society and contribute to its growth and development. Education is expected to provide equal opportunity to all, which transgresses the perceived barriers of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, religion….It therefore has the potential to be a great equalizer. Unfortunately, this does not always hold true.


The National Education Policy 2020 has recognized the power of education and termed it the single greatest tool for achieving social justice and equality. It further states that “Inclusive and equitable education … is also critical to achieving an inclusive and equitable society in which every citizen has the opportunity to dream, thrive, and contribute to the nation.”


“scientia potentia est” meaning knowledge is power. This maxim applies to healthcare as well.


Over the years, the doctor-patient relationship has undergone a phenomenal change from “paternalism”, where doctors were  “parent figures” taking medical decisions on behalf of their patients to the present day “patient-centric” where the patient is an “equal partner”. Technology has played a great role in this shift. It has also tremendously enabled health literacy. There is a wealth of information available today and it is easily accessible via smart phones. But any information out there may not be correct. It is important to know that the available information is not only good, but is also credible. Here comes the role of patient education.


Patient education empowers patients to actively participate in their treatment and make informed decisions about their treatment. It improves their adherence to the prescribed treatment. Only an educated patient is able to effectively utilize information at hand to improve their health. “Strengthening knowledge for health” is a key policy principle in the National Health Policy 2017.


IJCP Group has been a pioneer of medical journalism in India. Since its inception in 1990, it has been actively engaged in educating and creating awareness about important issues in health among people from all walks of life, including doctors, especially educating people about Covid-19 when the pandemic was at its peak and then about Covid vaccine to remove vaccine hesitancy. eMedinewS, which was launched in 2010 as India’s first national daily medical e-newspaper, has been at the forefront of this endeavor.

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