Rising health costs pushing 100m to extreme poverty

GENEVA: Health spending, which accounts for 10 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), is pushing 100 million people into extreme poverty each year, says a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Health spending is made up of government expenditure, out-of-pocket payments (people paying for their own care) and sources such as voluntary health insurance, employer-provided health programmes and activities by non-governmental organisations.
The report “2018 Global Health Expenditure” revealed that in low and middle-income countries health spending is growing on average 6 per cent annually compared with 4 per cent in high-income countries.
While governments provide an average of 51 per cent of a country’s health spending, more than 35 per cent of health spending per country comes from out-of-pocket expenses. And as a consequence, 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year, the report said.
“Increased domestic spending is essential for achieving universal health coverage and the health-related sustainable development goals,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement on Wednesday.
“But health spending is not a cost, it’s an investment in poverty reduction, jobs, productivity, inclusive economic growth, and healthier, safer, fairer societies,” Ghebreyesus added.
In middle-income countries, government health expenditure per capita has doubled since the year 2000. On average, governments spend $60 per person on health in lower-middle income countries and close to $270 per person in upper-middle income countries. — IANS