WHO report refers to 4 important figures:
(a) at least half the world’s population still lacks access to essential health services;
(b) 800 million people spend more than 10% of their household budget on health care;
(c) Almost 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket (OOP) health expenses;
(d) on average, OOP payments represent about 32% of every country’s health expenditure.
For Oxfam, these numbers are people that we work with who struggle for their health and their lives. In the light of the global commitments to UHC, the Astana PHC declaration and the evidence from countries that made great strides to achieving UHC, Oxfam urges WHO to ensure that the HLM declaration emphasises 3 issues:
(a) Governments to commit to scaling up financing and strengthening public health services. WHO and other agencies must support countries to implement mechanisms to decrease OOP spending by making public service free at the point of use and invest in improving the quality of services so that people do not have to resort to paying the cost of using private providers or go without healthcare.
(b) The commercialisation of health service poses a serious threat to poor people’ access to services. We are disappointed that the Astana declaration removed an important point from earlier drafts, which recommended governments to resist and reverse the commercialisation of health care. WHO must help countries to guard against inappropriate commercial interference in the governance of their national health service.
(c) WHO to lead global actions to make medicines, vaccines and health technologies available and affordable to all that need them.
UHC is an important road to tackling inequality including gender inequality and to achieving the human right to health.