World Bank says universal health coverage key to ending poverty

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A mother and her child at the Maternity and Child Hospital in Iraq. (UN Photo/Bikem Ekberzade)

The World Bank is calling for global efforts to ensure universal access to quality, affordable health services.

Addressing the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, World Bank group president Jim Yong Kim said in order to attain the goal of eradicating absolute poverty by 2030, countries must ensure that all their citizens have access to quality, affordable health services.

He said while countries will need robust, inclusive economic growth to end poverty, they must also invest to improve health, education and social protection for all citizens.

"By current best estimates, worldwide, out of pocket health spending forces 100 million people into extreme poverty every year and inflicts severe financial hardships on another 150 million. This is an overwhelming form of affliction for people, as the anguish of impoverishment compounds the suffering of illness. Improving health coverage and outcomes among the poorer people of any country is critical to building their capabilities and enabling them to compete for the good jobs that will change their lives. We have to close health gaps, if we are serious about reducing economic inequality, energizing countries economies and building societies in which everyone has a fair chance."

Jim Yong Kim said the World Bank was keen to assist countries attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of reducing maternal and child mortality, noting they were a critical test to the banks commitment to health equity.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1.34″


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