1B Can't Afford Health Care: WHO

Health costs push 100M into poverty yearly
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 22, 2010 10:19 AM CST
The General Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, introduces the world health report in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 22, 2010.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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(Newser) – A billion people worldwide can’t afford health care, and paying for it drives 100 million people into poverty annually, a World Health Organization report says. The global report says all countries should seek creative ways to boost health-care efficiency and funding, Reuters reports. “For many, health services just don't exist,” says a WHO official.

“As the world grapples with economic slowdown, globalization of disease, and growing demands for chronic care, the need for universal health coverage, and a strategy for financing it, has never been greater,” said the organization’s director. The World Health Report 2010 found that some 20%-40% of health spending is generally wasted on things like costly, unnecessary drugs and hospital inefficiencies; 5% could be saved through more efficient use of medicines.

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