The World Health Organisation (WHO), in a joint report with the World Bank, on Wednesday revealed that essential health services are out of reach for at least half the world’s population, while many others are forced into extreme poverty by having to pay for healthcare they cannot afford. Approximately 800 million people worldwide spend at least 10 percent of their household income on healthcare for themselves or a sick child, and as many as 100 million of those are left with less than $1.90 a day to live on as a result, the WHO said.

Expressing their concern and disappointment with the situation, the UN health agency further said that it was completely unacceptable that more than half the world’s people still don’t get the most basic healthcare. “If we are serious – not just about better health outcomes but also about ending poverty – we must urgently scale up our efforts on universal health coverage,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement with the report. The report, however, also had some good news: This century has seen a rise in the number of people getting services such as vaccinations, HIV/AIDS drugs, and mosquito-repelling bed nets and contraception, it said. But, there are wide gaps in the availability of services in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, the report found. In other regions, basic services such as family planning and child immunization are more available, but families are suffering financially to pay for them. Yong Kim said this was a sign that “the system is broken”.

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