WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus

Over half of world’s population not covered by health services, says WHO

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World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed that over 4.5 billion people, representing more than half of the world’s population, are not fully covered by essential health services.

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, who said this on Wednesday during an online media conference on global health issuesfurther disclosed that two billion people face financial hardship due to out-of-pocket health spending.

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“Outbreaks, disasters, conflict and climate change are all causing death and disability, hunger and psychological distress. Realising the right to health means passing and implementing laws to ensure that people can access the health services they need, where and when they need them, without financial hardship,” he said.

According to him, as of date, at least 140 countries recognise the right to health in their own constitutions. And yet, around the world, that right is often unrealised or under threat.

The WHO Chief said that there was the need to address the reasons people get sick and die.

“It means the people should get safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing and decent working and environmental conditions. And they also require freedom from discrimination,” he said.

Ghebreyesus said that 76 years since the founding of the organisation, WHO remained totally committed to the highest attainable standard of health, as a fundamental right for all people, everywhere. According to him, April 7 marks World Health Day, the 76th anniversary of the constitution of the organisation coming into force.

He said that this year’s theme is ‘My health, my right’, reaffirming what WHO has affirmed since its birth on the 7th of April, 1948, that health was a right for all people, not a luxury.

“In fact, the WHO constitution was the first instrument of international law to affirm that the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right of all people, without distinction,” Ghebreyesus said.

He called on all citizens to demand for their health as a matter of their right.

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