More than a billion people can’t afford costs of healthcare, says WHO

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 23 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6715
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

The world’s healthcare systems are estimated to be wasting between 20% and 40% of their resources, but smarter spending and tackling leakages could increase healthcare coverage of their populations by similar amounts, says a new World Health Organization report.

The study also says that more than a billion poor people, mostly in poor nations, don’t have access to the health services they need because they can’t afford to pay for them.

“In ethical terms, no one in need of healthcare, whether curative or preventive, should risk financial ruin as a result of paying for this care,” said Margaret Chan, WHO’s director general, at the launch of the report in Berlin this week.

The report says, “Worldwide, about 150 million people a year face catastrophic health costs …

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