Enrolled Nurse, Miriam Chisizwa, age 45 takes the blood pressure of patient Agnes Colinto. Credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam
Good health care is a fundamental right, not a luxury.


A doctor when you need one. Medicines you can afford. Clean water to drink and enough food to keep you healthy. Millions of people are going without these basic things, every single day.

  • Every minute, a woman with no medical care dies in pregnancy or childbirth
  • Every hour, 300 people die of an AIDS-related illness
  • Every day, 4,000 children die of diarrhea caused by dirty water

Millions of people in poor countries get low-quality health care, or are forced to go without it altogether. Fees are too high, hospitals and clinics are too few, and lack of medical staff means people struggle to get treated.

Doctors – a luxury?

Good health care is a fundamental right, not a luxury.

People everywhere should be able to visit a local clinic or hospital, and get care and affordable medicines, whenever they need them.

We're determined to make this a reality.

Start locally

Oxfam works directly with people around the world, helping them to get better health care.

In Zugdidi in rural Georgia, for example, we supported local organizations as they set up basic, affordable care in villages with many former refugees. With our help they built and renovated low-cost clinics in 27 communities.

Oxfam famously provides clean water and sanitation in emergencies, too. More than half a million displaced people in Darfur, Sudan, for instance, have been helped in this way.

Act globally

Health care for all is a massive challenge, but an achievable one. What’s needed is the will, and the funding.

Governments of developing countries must invest in their health services. And rich countries, backed by international organizations like the World Bank, must solidly support them.

This is the main focus of our Health and Education campaign.

Access to medicines

Time and time again, the poorest people find vital drugs are priced out of reach – despite promises from the World Trade Organization to make medicines affordable and available to all.

We’re campaigning hard to change this, targeting governments and drugs companies – like Pfizer and Novartis – to ensure developing countries get cheaper and better medicines quickly.


More than 40 million people live with HIV and AIDS, and around 8,000 of them die every day as a result – mostly in the world’s poorest countries.

Three-quarters of infected people go without the drug treatments that could help them.

We're working directly with people affected by HIV and AIDS.

In Malawi, for instance, we train and support home-based carers – local volunteers who, with Oxfam supplies, support the ill, elderly and orphaned in their communities.

We lobby for change too. Without good healthcare, medicines and doctors and nurses, HIV will continue to claim lives.

Our Health and Education campaign presses governments and other donors to provide the $10 billion a year needed for universal HIV and AIDS prevention work, treatment and care.

Learn more

Issues we work on: HIV and AIDS