A new report of the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that countries must invest at least 1% of their GDP on primary healthcare to eliminate glaring coverage gaps.
The WHO has observed that if countries continue with the current rate of progress to boost healthcare, up to 5 billion people will still miss access to healthcare in 2030, the year the world leaders have set to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, DG, WHO, said, “If we are really concerned about achieving UCH and improving people’s lives, we must get serious about primary healthcare.”
Dr Tedros stressed providing essential health services like immunization, antenatal care, healthy lifestyle advice as close to home as possible – and making sure people do not have to pay for this care out of their own pockets.
The WHO report highlighted that investing an additional USD200 billion a year to improve primary healthcare across low and middle-income nations would potentially save 60 million lives. This will increase average life expectancy by 3.7 years by 2030, and contribute significantly to socio-economic development.
“It would represent about 3% increase on the USD7.5 trillion already spent on health globally each year” says the report. Most of the money would come from countries themselves. Presently, most of the countries are under spending on primary health care.
The UN agency report pointed out that most nations can boost primary health care using domestic resources – either by increasing public spending on health in general, or by reallocating spending towards primary health care – or by doing both.