WHO urges east Asian countries to step up health spending

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 05 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1326
  1. Jane Parry
  1. 1Hong Kong

    The World Health Organization has called on countries to commit themselves to the goal of universal access to health care and to increase public spending on health to reduce the financial burden on individuals.

    Since the launch of WHO’s health financing strategy for its Western Pacific region in September last year (BMJ 2009;339:b3989, doi:10.1136/bmj.b3989), several countries in the region have made big steps towards universal coverage, but progress has been poor in others, with out of pocket costs still accounting for as much as 60% of medical expenditure in some Asian countries.

    “When the poor fall sick, the cost of treatment—if they can afford it at all—often …

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