Agencies Find Poor Quality Healthcare Stymies Universal Health Coverage
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The World Bank, the WHO and the OECD published a joint review of healthcare quality around the world, which finds that inaccurate diagnoses, inappropriate treatment and hospital infections are problems in all countries.

The agencies argue that universal health coverage (SDG target 3.8) cannot become a reality unless healthcare quality also improves.

They call on governments to take urgent steps to improve health systems and engage citizens in designing new models of care to meet the needs of local communities.

5 July 2018: The World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have published a joint review of healthcare quality around the world that finds that inaccurate diagnoses, inappropriate treatment and hospital infections are problems in all countries. The agencies argue that universal health coverage (UHC), under SDG target 3.8, cannot be achieved unless healthcare quality also improves. They call on governments to take urgent steps to improve health systems and engage citizens in designing new models of care to meet the needs of local communities.

The publication titled, ‘Delivering Quality Health Services: A Global Imperative for Universal Health Coverage,’ gives examples of failings in various health systems, with middle and low-income countries experiencing the most severe difficulties. For example, eight countries in Africa and the Caribbean region reported that, despite widespread access to maternal and child health services, less than one-third of those services could be considered effective.

The report issues a call to action by the World Bank, WHO and the OECD, outlining detailed actions that can be taken by governments, national health systems, and healthcare workers to achieve high-quality, people-centered health services for all. Overall, the three institutions call on governments to put in place national quality policies and strategies, and to measure and report on the quality of care, including benchmarking against similar systems that are delivering well, and promoting research and the use of evidence. They also highlight the potential for partnering with citizens, patients and healthcare workers to share knowledge, recognize rights to healthcare that meets modern quality standards, and work collaborative in care delivery.

SDG target 3.8 sets out several objectives for achieving universal health coverage, of which access to quality essential healthcare services is but one. The other objectives are financial risk protection, and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all. [Report Web Page] [World Bank Press Release] [Publication: Delivering Quality Health Services: A Global Imperative for Universal Health Coverage]

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