No nation can afford unsafe healthcare – World Bank

GOOD health is the foundation of a country’s human capital, and no nation can afford low-quality or unsafe healthcare, says World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim. In a statement made available by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Kim said low-quality care disproportionately impacts the poor.

“Good health is the foundation of a country’s human capital, and no country can afford low-quality or unsafe healthcare…low-quality care is not only morally reprehensible, but also economically unsustainable for families and entire countries,” Kim said.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said theorganisation was committed to ensuring that people everywhere can obtain health services when and where they need them.

“We are equally committed to ensuring that those services are good quality. Quite honestly, there can be no universal health coverage without quality care,” Dr Ghebreyesus said.

And the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) secretary general Ángel Gurría says without quality health services, universal health coverage will remain an empty promise.

“The economic and social benefits are clear and we need to see a muchstronger focus on investing in and improving quality to create trust in health services and give everyone access to high-quality, people-centred health services,” he said.

The WHO stated that the OECD and World Bank joint report notes that poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels.

“Today, inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, inappropriate orunnecessary treatment, inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities orpractices, or providers who lack adequate training and expertiseprevail in all countries…the situation is worst in low and middle-income countries where 10 per cent of hospitalised patients can expect to acquire an infection during their stay, as compared to seven per cent in high income countries. This is despite hospital acquiredinfections being easily avoided through better hygiene, improvedinfection control practices and appropriate use of antimicrobials. At the same time, one in ten patients is harmed during medical treatment in high income countries,” the Delivering Quality Health Services – a Global Imperative for Universal Health Coverage report stated in part.

The report added that sickness associated with poor quality health care imposes additional expenditure on families and health systems.

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