WHO: People Needing Health Care Should Not Go Broke

    10 September, 2013


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

    The World Health Organization says everyone should have a right to the health care services they need without risking financial ruin. A new WHO Report is urging countries to provide health care design to meet the special needs of their citizens.

    In 2005, all 194 members of the World Health Organization set a goal of providing universal health coverage. But very few countries have reached that target, most people must use their own financial resources to pay for the health care they need.

    Since health needs differ from one country to another, the new report urges every country to create its own system of health coverage. It says the services should include prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reduction of pain, and the health care should involve communities, health centers and hospitals.

    WHO: People Needing Health Care Should Not Go Broke
    Four-year-old Niuniu, who has late-stage neuroblastoma, a malignant cancer of the nervous system, receives an ultrasound at the Shanghai Children’s Hospital in Shanghai, May 30, 2013.

    Christopher Dye is head of the WHO's Office of Health Information, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases.

    "Every year approximately 150 million people in the world suffer catastrophic health expenditure. That is they have to pay out of their own pockets for health care to a degree that they cannot possibly afford. So, how do we put in place mechanisms for financial risk protection, which will ensure that catastrophic health expenditures are reduced to a minimum?"

    The report shows how research can help countries develop a system that makes sure their citizens receive the care they need without suffering financial ruin.

    The WHO says the studies should be done in low- and high-income countries because the poorer countries have special problems they have to work out for themselves.

    Dr. Dye said some European countries have continued supporting their social and health services even during this period of financial difficulty. He says that decision is paying off in better health for their people.

    "Saving money on health care is often a false kind of economy. If you save money on health care in the short term, you may end up spending more in the long term. So, cutting the cost of health budgets is not an enlightened policy."

    Dr. Dye estimates that the cost of medical care is increasing very quickly. Because of that, he says governments must find ways to pay for health care during good times and bad, and work harder to keep costs under control.

    And that's the Health Report from VOA Learning English. To Read, listen and learn English with our stories and activities, go to the VOA Learning English Channel on YouTube and our website 51voa.com. I'm Milagros Ardin.