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An International Labor Organization (ILO) report published Monday shows that 56 percent of the world’s rural population does not have access to essential health care services, more than double the figure than for the global urban population which stands at 22 percent. doctor
The report, covering 174 countries, brings to the fore systemic healthcare disparities between rural and urban areas which had remained largely not assessed due to a lack of data.
According to the study, the place where a person resides can either act as an entry door or a barrier to health protection access, significantly impacting on whether people live or die.
“This is particularly the case in developing countries, though the rural-urban divide is a global phenomenon,” said ILO health policy coordinator Xenia Scheil-Adlung.
Official figures show that the African continent suffers from the highest number of people living without essential healthcare coverage, with 83 percent of the rural population lacking access to healthcare services.
Though the figures are lower for Asia, the biggest disparity between rural and urban healthcare access is recorded there, according to ILO figures.
According to the ILO, rural maternal mortality rates are 2.5 times higher than in urban areas — this is especially the case in Africa, the region with the highest rural maternal mortality rate in the world.
The report also highlights the close link between under funding and lack of services. According to ILO’s study, Africa, Asia and Latin America suffer from financial resource gaps in rural areas, which tend to be nearly twice as high as in urban areas.
“The lack of coverage, insufficient numbers of health workers, inadequate funding and high out-of-pocket payments have created life-threatening inequities in many countries,” said Scheil-Adlung.
According to the ILO, systemic changes based on rights and social-economic empowerment are needed to ensure that health protection and services meet the criteria of availability, affordability, accessibility, acceptability and quality defined by the universal health coverage discourse.
ILO’s report calculates that the minimum density of health workers for every 10,000 people should be 41.1 in order to provide universal health coverage. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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