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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO)

50% of Global Population Lacks Essential Health Care – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said half of the world’s total population does not have access to essential health care despite global efforts.

According to the global body’s Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, a significant number of people are excluded from health care and about two billion people face financial hardship due to out-of-pocket health spending.

Mr Tedros said this on Monday at the 77th World Health Assembly taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. The assembly which has world leaders in attendance is themed: “All for Health, Health for All.”

At the event which is expected to end on 1 June, Mr Ghebreyesus said there’s a regression in the rate of financial protection of citizens seeking health care at a global level.

He said: “Half the world’s population is not fully covered by essential health services. This is staggering. We estimate that 585 million more people will be covered by essential health services without catastrophic health spending by 2025– only a little over halfway towards our target of 1 billion.

“Although 30 per cent of countries have made progress since 2000 on both service coverage and financial protection, at the global level we’re going backwards on financial protection.”

As a way to improve this, WHO official said the organisation is supporting some countries that have made Universal Health Coverage commitments to improve the quality and availability of healthcare delivery in their countries.

He said the global body is working in more than 120 countries through the UHC Partnership.

“We also joined a consortium of multilateral development banks to launch the Health Impact Investment Platform, with funds of 1.5 billion euros to support primary health care projects in countries. We aim to start making disbursements from September.

“Last year, we supported 23 countries to strengthen their health and care workforce,” he said.