Primary health care

World Health Organization

Countries must invest at least 1% more of GDP on primary health care to eliminate glaring coverage gaps: WHO

At current rates of progress up to 5 billion people will miss out on health care in 2030 GENEVA/NEW YORK— Countries must increase spending on primary healthcare by at least 1% of their gross domestic product (GDP) if the world is to close glaring coverage gaps and meet health targets agreed in 2015, says a new report from the World Health Organization and partners on the eve of a UN General Assembly high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage. They must also intensify efforts to expand services countrywide. The world will need to double health coverage between now and 2030, according to the Universal Health Coverage Monitoring Report. It warns that if current trends continue, up to 5 billion people will still be unable to access health care in 2030 – the deadline world leaders have set for achieving universal health coverage. Most of those people are poor and already disadvantaged. Primary health care key to health for all “If we are really serious about achieving universal health coverage and improving people’s lives, we must get serious about primary health care,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “That means providing essential health services like immunization, antenatal care, healthy lifestyle advice as close to home as possible – and making sure people do not have to pay for this care out of their own pockets.” Investing an additional USD200 billion a year on scaling up primary health care across low and middle-income countries would potentially save 60 million lives, increase average life expectancy by 3.7 years by 2030, and contribute significantly to socio-economic development. It would represent about 3 % increase on the USD7.5 trillion already spent on health globally each year. Most of that funding would come from countries themselves. The report says that most countries can scale up primary health care using domestic resources – either by increasing public spending on health in general, or by reallocating spending towards primary health care – or by doing both.  At present, most countries are underinvesting in primary health care. But for the poorest countries, including many affected by conflict, this may…