Home NewsInternational 400 million people lack access to Essential Health Services Globally – WHO

400 million people lack access to Essential Health Services Globally – WHO

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By Aminu Magashi Garba

A World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Bank Group report launched on Friday indicated that 400 million people globally do not have access to essential health services. The report also revealed that six per cent of people in low and middle income countries are tipped into or pushed further into extreme poverty because of health spending.
This is contained in a statement made available by WHO.

The Rockefeller Foundation and the Japanese Ministry of Health supported this report, which comes six months before the second annual Universal Health Coverage Day on Dec. 12.
In the statement, Dr Tim Evans, the Senior Director of Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group, said that the report necessitated a wakeup call.

“This report is a wakeup call; it shows that we are a long way from achieving universal health coverage.
“We must expand access to health and protect the poorest from health expenses that are causing them severe financial hardship,’’ the statement quoted Evans as saying. It said that the report,

“Tracking Universal Health Coverage’’, was the first of its kind to measure health service coverage and financial protection to assess countries’ progress toward universal health coverage.
“The report looked at global access to essential health services including family planning, antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, child immunisation, antiretroviral therapy and tuberculosis treatment. “It also looked at access to clean water and sanitation in 2013, and found that at least 400 million people lacked access to at least one of these services,’’ it said.

Also in the statement, Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, the Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation, WHO, said “the world’s most disadvantaged people are missing out even the most basic services.
“A commitment to equity is at the heart of universal health coverage.
“Health policies and programmes should focus on providing quality health services for the poorest people, women and children, people living in rural areas and those from minority groups.’’
It said the report also found that across 37 countries, six per cent of the population was tipped or pushed further into extreme poverty at 1.25 dollars per day. According to it, this was because they had to pay for health services out of their own pockets.
“When the study factored in a poverty measure of two dollars a day, 17 per cent of people in these countries were impoverished, or further impoverished by health expenses,’’ it said.
Dr Kaushik Basu, the Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank Group, said in the statement that: “These high levels of impoverishment happened when poor people have to pay out of pocket for their own emergency healthcare.

“It poses a major threat to the goal of eliminating extreme poverty. “As we transit to a post-2015 development era, we must act on these findings, or the world’s poor risk being left behind.’’

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