World Health Organisation (WHO) says it will continue to work to ensure that people everywhere in the world, especially in middle income countries, are able to obtain quality health services when and where they need it.
The organisation said this in a New Joint Report released recently by it, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank.
In the report, the three world bodies stated that poor health services experienced in many parts of the world was holding back progress toward improved health of citizens.
They noted that the situation was worse in low and middle-income countries where 10 per cent of hospitalised patients often acquired infection during their stay as against seven per cent in high income countries.
The joint report stated that sickness associated with poor healthcare always imposed additional expenditure on families and health systems.
It indicated that there could be no Universal Health Coverage (UHC) without quality care, therefore, the organisations would continue to work to ensure improved health services around the globe.
The report stated that “today, inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, inappropriate or unsafe clinical facilities or practices, as well as health providers who lack adequate training and expertise prevail in all countries.
“Research has found that healthcare workers in seven low-income African countries are only able to make accurate diagnosis one third to three quarters of the time.
“Clinical guidelines for common conditions are followed less than 45 per cent of the time on average, while research in eight high-mortality countries in the Caribbean and Africa found that effective quality maternal and child health services are far less prevalent than suggested by just looking at access to services.
“Just 28 per cent of antenatal care, 26 per cent of family planning services and 21 per cent of sick-child care across these countries qualified as ‘effective’, while about 15 per cent of hospital expenditure in high-income countries is due to mistakes in care or patients being infected while in hospitals.
“Although there is some progress in improving quality in survival rates for cancer and cardiovascular disease, the broader economic and social costs of poor quality care, long-term disability, impairment and lost productivity are estimated to amount to trillions of dollars each year.”
The report quoted the OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurria, as saying that without quality health services, Universal Health Coverage would remain an empty promise.
Gurria said that the economic and social benefits were clear, hence countries needed to have stronger focus and invest in improved quality to create trust in health services and give everyone access to people-centred health services.
The report also quoted the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, as saying “good health is the foundation of a country’s human capital and no country can afford low-quality or unsafe healthcare.
“Low-quality care disproportionately impacts the poor, which is not only morally reprehensible but
economically unsustainable for families and countries.”
The three organisations, therefore, agreed that governments, health services and their workers, citizens and patients urgently needed to contribute their quota to improve healthcare quality.
They advised governments to lead the way with strong national healthcare policies and strategies while the health systems focused on competent care and user-experience to ensure confidence in the system.
They also advised that citizens be empowered and informed to actively engage in healthcare decisions and in designing new models of care to meet the needs of their local communities.
They urged healthcare workers to see patients as partners and commit themselves to improving and using data to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of healthcare.
By Yashim Katurak