Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Thursday, July 19, 2018 04:24:36 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Make healthcare affordable for all

By
07th-May-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Sania Nishtar  :
Half of the planet cannot access essential health services. For many people, paying to see a doctor, obtaining medications, seeking family-planning advice, or even getting immunized against common illnesses is a choice between staying healthy and slipping into poverty. And, more than ever, the health-care options that poor people do have are being degraded by a familiar foe.
In many low- and middle-income countries, corruption, inadequate spending, and wasted resources pose enduring challenges for health-care systems. Growing up in Pakistan, I saw people forced to go to extremes to secure health care. For example, families might be forced to sell off cattle and other valuables to pay exorbitant medical bills.
What is shocking is that the scourge of health-related poverty continues to claim victims today. Indeed, in some countries, people falling into poverty due to the high cost of health care is an everyday reality.
On a recent trip to Africa, I heard a harrowing story of a hospital where women and their newborns are routinely held hostage - often for months - until families can find the money to settle their bills. According to researchers at the University of California, San Diego, corruption, waste, and unethical billing cost patients and health systems billions of dollars annually. In the United States, as much as 10% of public-sector spending on health care is lost to fraudulent billing, and tens of millions face significant economic barriers to health care.
Clearly, improving health outcomes requires both increased government spending and an end to shady practices that siphon crucial resources from the health system.
But how? Around the world, corruption and collusion are institutionalized in many health-care systems. Of the $6.5 trillion spent annually on healthcare, an estimated $455 billion is lost, misused, or stolen. Simply put, health costs are bankrupting some of the poorest people in the world, because many of the richest are lining their pockets.
There is growing consensus that affordable, quality health care is a basic human right. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals include universal health coverage as a target. And it is not only rich countries that have embraced this goal: from Thailand to Costa Rica to Rwanda, countries with mixed health systems and limited resources have dedicated funds and political capital to making universal health care a reality.
Steps are being taken to help these countries succeed. Last year, Japan pledged $2.9 billion to help developing countries achieve universal health coverage. And the World Bank has indicated that a country's ability to borrow from it could eventually be tied to investments in human capital, including health spending.
But such gestures, however laudable - and overdue - will not be enough to remove the barriers to quality health services. Until corruption, theft, and wasteful and inefficient spending are addressed more vigorously, universal health coverage will remain aspirational.
Fortunately, governments are increasingly committed to solving the corruption crisis. Tax evasion and fraud - both common crimes - are drawing closer scrutiny from law enforcement agencies. Tax evasion doesn't just enable money laundering; it also robs the public sector of important resources. This is one reason why the UN has made reducing illicit financial flows a key component of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
With broad agreement on the need to combat corruption in the health sector, the harder challenge will be developing workable remedies. National treasuries, finance ministries, and anti-corruption agencies need to strengthen their efforts to cooperate on prevention, detection, and enforcement. Improving transparency in financial systems could also help curb corruption, while civil-society groups, journalists, and patients should push for greater accountability from governments and medical providers.
In the future, new technologies like data mining, artificial intelligence, and blockchain could offer new ways to detect wrongdoing in the health sector; these and other tools should be investigated fully. Expanding health-care access and protecting the sector's finances are dual challenges that the international community must address together. There is an urgent need to act without delay. Rates of noncommunicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are increasing almost exponentially, and lack of access to quality care will add to many countries' governance challenges. Development strategists understand that poor health is a harbinger of poverty and a barrier to eliminating it. Today, some 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health, often going into debt to fund the treatment they need. The fact that so many people cannot afford to visit a doctor is truly shameful. The world needs universal health coverage; but to achieve it, the world's health sector must undergo treatment of its own. -Project Syndicate
(Sania Nishtar is a co-chair of the WHO's independent High-level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

City »

Bangladesh Sammilita Peshajibi Parishad formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday demanding unconditional release and proper treatment of Begum Khaleda Zia.


Editorial »

Public money and gold are not safe, it is a national disgrace


Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday refuted the allegation that one of the gold bars kept in its highly secured vault by the customs department was adulterated. Following a report published by a vernacular daily that quoted Customs Intelligence Investigation Department report, the central bank comes up with the observation that "the ...

Football »

French World Cup victors show triumph of diversity: Obama


AFP, Johannesburg :Former US president Barack Obama on Tuesday singled out the African heritage of many players in France's World Cup-winning football team in a speech paying tribute to Nelson Mandela.Speaking in Johannesburg to mark 100 years since Mandela's birth, Obama said that embracing diversity "delivers practical benefits since it ...

Football »

Maurizio Sarri, the new Chelsea soccer team manager, holds up a jersey during a press conference for his official presentation at Stamford Bridge stadium in London on Wednesday.


Entertainment »

Former supermodel Tapur Chatterji turns entrepreneur


In the ever-changing landscape of contemporary times, there’s more career crossover now than ever before. Granddaughter of veteran film director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Tapur Chatterji who made a mark as of India’s most formative supermodels in 90’s has recently forayed into design and interiors and launched her own entrepreneur outfit. With ...

International »

Thai cave boys leave hospital ahead of press conference


AFP :Twelve boys and their football coach who survived a highly dangerous and dramatic rescue from a flooded Thai cave were discharged from hospital Wednesday ahead of a press conference where they will tell their incredible story for the first time.An AFP correspondent on the scene saw the team, who ...

Entertainment »

Elnaaz surprised by Salman -Katrina controversy about Sacred Games


Actress Elnaaz Norouzi is surprised that there is a controversy about the characters of Karan Wahi and her in the Netflix series Sacred Games. The characters are alleged to have taken inspiration from real life incidents in Salman Khan and his ex-girlfriend Katrina Kaif's real lives.  "While shooting the episodes, ...

Entertainment »

Vidya Balan is all set to play her first Telugu film!


One can't refute the fact that Vidya Balan is one of the most versatile actresses in Indian Cinema today. The National Award Winning actress has never shied away from going off the beaten track and picking up complex and challenging roles. Needless to say, she has effortlessly nailed them all ...

Football »

Mbappe to donate US $500,000 World Cup winnings to charity


Sports Desk :French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will be donating his entire World Cup earnings to a charity that organises sporting events for children with disabilities.The 19-year-old reportedly earned about US$22,300 per game in the tournament and an additional US$350,000 for helping his country lift the World Cup trophy on ...

Editorial »

Trump‘s behaviour in meeting with Putin regarded as disgraceful


US President Donald Trump has defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election. After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote, as per international media reports.Mr Putin ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee member Dr Khondkar Mosharraf Hossain speaking at an opinion sharing meeting on 'Role of Present Election Commission and Blue Print of the Government' organised by Bangladesh Youth Forum at the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday.


International »

No reason to believe Russia behind election meddling


Reuters, Helsinki :U.S. President Donald Trump emerged from a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday saying he saw no reason to believe Russia had hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the Russian leader "was extremely strong and powerful" in denying it.Trump held his meeting just days after a special ...

International »

US, North Korea hold 'productive' talks on war remains: Pompeo


AP, Seoul :U.S. and North Korean officials held "productive" talks Sunday to discuss the return of U.S. service members' remains missing since the Korean War, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.Pompeo, who was not part of the talks, said in a statement that working level meetings between U.S. and ...

Business & Economy »

American Tony Roma now in Dhaka


Business Desk :America's most favorite ribs & steak chain "Tony Roma's" opened officially in Bangladesh on Monday.The first flagship outlet was launched at the most aristocratic zone in the city, NEB (3B), Road#74, Gulshan-2 in Dhaka. US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat attended the function as the chief guest.Tony Roma's ...

Editorial »

Govt`s pragmatic step is needed to save Bangladesh from adverse impact of global warming


A RECENT study has shown that Bangladesh is among the countries 'most at risk' as over one billion people in the world are lack of air conditioning and refrigeration to keep them cool and to preserve food and medicines while global warming increasing temperatures. More electricity demand for fridges, fans ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news