Reducing inequality is crucial to implementing universal health coverage, says WHO report

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 30 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5902
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Low and middle income countries seeking to institute universal health coverage will achieve better outcomes faster if they prioritize programs to reduce the inequities that deny their poor and vulnerable citizens access to care and burden them with high costs, says a new report.1

The report, published jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation, Save the Children, Unicef, and the World Health Organization, notes that poorer nations have made great progress in recent years but that aggregate statistics can be deceiving. Although national rates of child mortality may be falling, many countries are seeing gaps widening between the richest and poorest people in survival and in access to services.

“In Bangladesh, a woman from a wealthy household is 10 times more likely to have a skilled attendant when giving birth, compared to a woman from a poorer family,” the report says.

Even as healthcare systems …

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