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Over half of global population lacks access to essential health services- WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that over 4.5 billion individuals, constituting more than half of the global population, lack full access to essential health services.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, made this announcement during an online media conference addressing critical global health concerns.

The global lack of essential health services

Dr Ghebreyesus highlighted the dire situation where two billion people are grappling with financial strains due to out-of-pocket health expenditures.

  • He pointed out the multifaceted challenges posed by outbreaks, disasters, conflict, and climate change, which not only result in fatalities and disabilities but also exacerbate hunger and psychological distress.
  • Emphasizing the imperative to actualize the right to health, Dr Ghebreyesus stressed the necessity of enacting and enforcing laws to guarantee universal access to health services devoid of financial burdens.
  • Despite 140 countries enshrining the right to health in their constitutions, realization of this fundamental right remains elusive or imperiled across the globe.

Addressing the root causes of illness and mortality, Dr Ghebreyesus asserted the indispensable prerequisites of safe drinking water, clean air, adequate nutrition, quality housing, and favorable working and environmental conditions.

Moreover, he advocated for freedom from discrimination as an essential component of health equity.

Reflecting on WHO’s unwavering commitment to advancing global health, Dr Ghebreyesus reaffirmed the organization’s dedication to ensuring the highest attainable standard of health as an inalienable right for all individuals worldwide.

As World Health Day approaches on April 7, commemorating the 76th anniversary of WHO’s constitution, this year’s theme, “My health, my right,” highlights the organization’s foundational principle that health is not a privilege but a universal entitlement.

Dr Ghebreyesus urged citizens worldwide to assert their right to health, echoing the WHO constitution’s groundbreaking assertion that the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right for all individuals, irrespective of distinctions.


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