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At least half of the world lacks access to essential health services.
World Health Day, a global health awareness day celebrated every year on April 7th, is a time to look at how we can help improve the world in a more holistic way.
In its 70th anniversary year, The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and commit to concrete steps to advance the health of all people. This means ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship.
- At least half of the world’s population are currently unable to obtain essential health services. That’s at least 100 million people being pushed into extreme poverty, forced to survive on just $1.90 or less a day, because they must pay for health services out of their own pockets.
- Over 800 million people (almost 12 percent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family members.
- Incurring catastrophic expenses for health care is a global problem. In richer countries in Europe, Latin America and parts of Asia, which have achieved high levels of access to health services, increasing numbers of people are spending at least 10 percent of their household budgets on out-of-pocket health expenses.
In recent decades, universal health coverage has emerged as a key strategy to make progress towards health-related and broader development goals. Access to quality care and financial protection not only enhances people’s health and life expectancy, it also protects countries from epidemics, reduces poverty and the risk of hunger, creates jobs, drives economic growth and enhances gender equality.
In honor of the day, we are reminding organizations to do their part in advancing universal healthcare by taking part in the conversation. After all, UHC encompasses all components of the health system: systems and healthcare providers that deliver health services to people, health facilities and communications networks, health technologies, information systems, quality assurance mechanisms and governance and legislation.
Tweet using #HealthForAll to raise awareness.