Global Health Report damning indictment of government action on health, says Oxfam

Published: 13th December 2017

Responding to the publication of a new World Bank – World Health Organization report which reveals that half the world do not have access to essential quality healthcare, and 800 million people face severe financial difficulties because of healthcare costs, Anna Marriott, health policy advisor for Oxfam said: 

“This report is a damning indictment of government action on health. Behind each of these appalling statistics are people facing unimaginable suffering - parents reduced to watching their children die; children pulled out of school so they can help pay off their families’ health care debts; and women working themselves into the ground caring for sick family members. There are even patients imprisoned in hospitals, held hostage until they can pay their fees."
“Healthcare, a basic human right, has become a luxury only the wealthy can afford. A radical change of approach is needed. Governments must massively increase spending on public healthcare and end all fees for healthcare and essential medicines. The additional costs can be met through progressive tax reforms and donors delivering on their international aid commitments - not through expensive private finance or unworkable health insurance schemes that exclude millions of ordinary people.” 


Notes to editors

New broadcast quality footage highlighting the devastating impact lack of affordable healthcare has people’s lives is available here:  

  • Cameroon VNR features a father whose 6-year-old daughter died because he could not afford the medical care she needed, and a woman who was imprisoned in a hospital until she was able to pay her medical bills. 
  • India VNR reveals a hugely unequal healthcare system where the wealthy can pay for world-class medical treatment while millions of ordinary Indian’s struggle to access basic healthcare services. Government spending on healthcare in India is amongst the lowest in the world at just 1.4 percent of GDP.  

The 2017 Universal Health Coverage Global Monitoring Report, is being published by the World Health Organisation and World Bank.

Contact information

Anna Ratcliff, Oxfam International, +44 7796993288,

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.