(Photo Courtesy: www.newzimbabwe.com)
The report also says that 6 percent of people in low- and middle-income countries are tipped into or pushed further into extreme poverty because of health spending.
"The world's most disadvantaged people are missing out on even the most basic services," says Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general, health systems and innovation, at the World Health Organization. "A commitment to equity is at the heart of universal health coverage. Health policies and programmes should focus on providing quality health services for the poorest people, women and children, people living in rural areas and those from minority groups".
The report, Tracking Universal Health Coverage, is the first of its kind to measure health service coverage and financial protection to assess countries' progress towards universal health coverage.
"This report is a wakeup call: It shows that we're a long way from achieving universal health coverage. We must expand access to health and protect the poorest from health expenses that are causing them severe financial hardship," says Dr Tim Evans, senior director of health, nutrition and population at the World Bank Group.
The report looked at global access to essential health services-including family planning, antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, child immunization, antiretroviral therapy, tuberculosis treatment, and access to clean water and sanitation-in 2013, and found that at least 400 million people lacked access to at least one of these services.