4.5bn people not fully covered by essential health services, says WHO


About 4.5 billion people or more than half of the world’s population are not fully covered by essential health services, the World Health Organisation has revealed.

The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, made this known on Wednesday during an online media conference on global health issues.

He noted that two billion people face financial hardship due to out-of-pocket health spending.

Ghebreyesus stated, “Outbreaks, disasters, conflict and climate change are all causing death and disability, hunger and psychological distress.

“Realising the right to health means passing and implementing laws to ensure that people can access the health services they need, where and when they need them, without financial hardship.

He said as of date, at least 140 countries recognise the right to health in their own constitutions, and yet, around the world, that right is often unrealised or under threat.

The WHO DG said that there was a need to address the reasons people get sick and die, adding, “It means the people should get safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing and decent working and environmental conditions. And they also require freedom from discrimination.”

Ghebreyesus said that 76 years after the founding of the WHO, it has remained committed to the highest attainable standard of health, as a fundamental right for all people, everywhere.

According to him, April 7 marks World Health Day and the 76th anniversary of the constitution of the organisation coming into force.

The WHO boss said that this year’s theme is ‘My health, my right’, reaffirming what WHO has affirmed since its birth on April 7, 1948, that health was a right for all people, not a luxury.

He added, “In fact, the WHO constitution was the first instrument of international law to affirm that the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right of all people, without distinction.”

Ghebreyesus called on all citizens to demand for their health as a matter of their right.



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