Human Rights for Health Workers – IFHHRO Training Manual

The online Human Rights for Health Workers – IFHHRO Training Manual shares materials developed to train health workers in health and human rights issues. It intends to bridge the gap between the legal conceptualization of the right to health and the daily practice of health workers by providing human rights education materials specifically designed for them.

The manual is available in English (below), RussianFrench and Spanish.

Basic knowledge on human rights

Human rights education is generally not integrated in medical and nursing school curricula and most health workers have limited knowledge about human rights. When introducing health workers to human rights it is extremely important not to overwhelm them with only legal information. This is why the relation between health-related human rights and the daily work of a health worker plays a central role in most of the session plans provided in the Human Rights for Health Workers – IFHHRO Training Manual.

Health workers do not need to become human rights specialists, but having basic knowledge does matter. In their daily work health workers need to take decisions that can mean the difference between the protection or the violation of human rights. What exactly health workers need to learn depends on the country they work in, their specialisation and their previous knowledge about human rights.

Participatory training approach

There is no fixed format for a human rights training programme for health workers. Experience learns that it is possible to interest health workers in human rights as long as they can establish a connection with their own work. An effective way to do this is by using a participatory training approach based on the principles of adult learning in which recognizable situations are used as a starting point to stimulate new insights.

It is this way of thinking that forms the basis for all the session plans available on this website. All session plans have been tried out during IFHHRO trainings. Some session plans are suitable for all trainings, others need to be adapted to the local situation, the learning objectives, or the target group.


The IFHHRO Training Manual consists of 6 basic parts, each of which contains three or more session plans.

1. Suggestions for planning a training:

  • One-day training – Health and Human Rights
  • One-day training – Access to Pain Treatment and Human Rights
  • One-day training – Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights
  • One-day training – Human Rights Mechanisms
  • Two-day training – Health Workers as Human Rights Actors

The training plans for these sessions can be found in our useful syllabus. It contains direct links to some of the session plans below.

2. Suggestions for the introduction of the participants and the programme:

3. Essential basic information on health and human rights:

4. Health workers and human rights:

Download Steps for Change – A human rights action guide for health workers

Download Steps for Change – A human rights action guide for health workers

5. Different health issues in relation to human rights:

Download PowerPoint on mental health

6. Human rights mechanisms and other issues:

Download PowerPoint on discrimination


All sessions are structured in the same way and consist of the following components:

  • Learning objectives: explains what participants should have learned at the end of the session
  • Target group: identifies the type of group for which the session is appropriate
  • Duration: gives the recommended duration of the session
  • Training materials: gives a list of stationery and supplies needed during the session
  • Training aids: lists any supporting tool(s) that are provided at the end of the session plan
  • Handouts: lists documents to distribute also provided at the end of the session plan
  • Session plans: a step by step guide for training delivery including indication of time

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use the materials for free?

Yes, you can use and reproduce all the training materials provided that the source is specified.

I like a specific session plan but the case study used is not suitable for my target group, what should I do?

The session plans are meant to give you suggestions about how to structure a session and which method might be useful. Of course you should change it according to the needs of your target group. Feel free to use different case studies, to change the script of a role play, or otherwise adapt it to the local situation.

May I translate the materials?

IFHHRO welcomes applications for rights of translation. Please take the following rules into account:

    • © IFHHRO and IFHHRO logo on the cover page
    • Name(s) of author(s) on the cover page
    • Name of translator on the cover page under authors
    • The same layout as the original version
  • A copy of the translated material should be sent to IFHHRO. All translations will be published on the IFHHRO website.