Half of the world's population lacks access to essential health services

Health care is key for a growing population and economic growth 

Half of the world's population lacks access to essential health services

According to a recent report issued by the World Health Organization, at least half of the global population does not have access to basic healthcare systems. Each year, a percentage of households fall below the poverty line because they must assume expensive treatments and essential assistance.

The report states that at least 800 million people have to spend 10% of their total income to cover the medical needs of a sick child, a family member, or even for themselves. 12.5% of the 800 million people who are forced to assume these expenses remain in poverty due to the high health costs while having to survive with only $ 1.90 a day.

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, affirmed that, "The report makes it clear that if we are serious – not just about better health outcomes, but also about ending poverty – we must urgently scale up our efforts on universal health coverage”.

This universal health coverage Kim refers to is defined by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) as a right "that assumes that all people, especially those in a situation of special vulnerability, no matter where they are, have access to effective health, and are protected from suffering financial difficulties in case of needing health attention".

Yong Kim also adds that to increase the numbers of basic health care at a global level, it is a priority to instruct countries on how to invest more in order to better its citizens’ lifestyle.

30% of Latin American population does not have medical coverage

And although the report shows that during 21st century there has been a significant growth in the number of people who access immunization procedures, HIV treatments, and family planning on a global scale, there seems to be various problems to fix.

In Latin America, for instance, a growing number of households must use 10% of its total income to cover basic medical situations and 30% of the total population does not have access to basic health care.

According to the report, in places of poverty, only 17% of mothers and children can access the health system in their city, while in the most prosperous areas, 74% has complete access.

As indicated by the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan, Katsunobu Kato, the key to developing a comprehensive health system is to design “a robust health financing mechanism that protects each individual vulnerable person from financial hardship, as well as developing health care facilities and a workforce including doctors to provide necessary health services wherever people live, are critically important in achieving 'Health for All'”.

 

 

Latin American Post |  Krishna Jaramillo

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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