‘Radical reorientation’ is necessary as half of humanity lacks basic health coverage

In addition, two billion face serious financial difficulties when paying for the necessary medical treatment themselves, according to to a joint World Health Organization (WHO)-World Bank report.

“The fact that so many people cannot benefit from essential, high-quality health services at an affordable price not only puts their own health at risk, it also puts the stability of communities, societies and economies at risk,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus , WHO Director-General. .

“We urgently need stronger political will, more aggressive investment in health and a decisive shift to transform health systems based on primary care.”

Alert for global health goals

This crisis poses a major threat to global health Goals for sustainable development (SDGs) that aim to achieve universal health coverage for all by 2030.

According to the report, over the past two decades fewer than a third of countries globally have improved health care coverage and reduced the “catastrophic” levels of out-of-pocket health costs, which often exceed 25 percent of household income.

Getting back on track

To get back on track towards the ambitious goals, the report calls for significant investment in the public sector by governments and development partners.

It emphasizes the need for a “radical reorientation” of health systems, prioritizing primary health care, strengthening equality and economic protection.

Reform is also essential to fully address the devastating impact of COVID-19 on health systems and the global health workforce, while resisting the challenges of the economic downturn, the report said.

Other factors include the impacts of climate change and shifting political priorities.

To help people out of poverty

“We know we have succeeded universal health coverage is a critical step in helping people escape and stay out of poverty, yet economic hardship continues to increase, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable people,” said Mamta Murthi, World Bank Vice President for Human Development.

“This report paints a dire picture, but also provides evidence of ways to prioritize health in public budgets and strengthen health systems for greater equity in both the delivery of essential quality health services and financial protection.”

The report was released ahead of a UN General Assembly high level meeting Thursday, when world leaders are expected to renew their pledge to act and make universal health coverage a reality for all.

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