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Global healthcare improves but inequalities on the rise: Study

THE ASIAN AGE. | TEENA THACKER
Published : May 19, 2017, 6:33 am IST
Updated : May 19, 2017, 6:33 am IST

Globally, the index increased from 40.7 in 1990 to 53.7 in 2015 and 167 countries saw healthcare access and quality significantly improve.

In 2015, Andorra scored the highest score (94.6), Central African Republic had the lowest (28.6) and the UK scored 84.6.
 In 2015, Andorra scored the highest score (94.6), Central African Republic had the lowest (28.6) and the UK scored 84.6.

New Delhi: In spite of global improvements in healthcare over two decades, inequalities between the best and worst performing countries have grown. According to a Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet, South Korea, Turkey, Peru, China and the Maldives have seen some of the greatest improvements in healthcare access and quality since the 1990s.

In 2015, Andorra scored the highest score (94.6), Central African Republic had the lowest (28.6) and the UK scored 84.6 – an increase of 10.3 since 1990 — placing the UK in 30th worldwide. Significantly, the USA was in 35th with 81.3 — an increase of 7.6 since 1990.

“Despite overall improvement globally, there is a variation in healthcare performance and few countries have consistently achieved optimal healthcare access and quality,” says senior author Professor Christopher Murray, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, USA. “By measuring healthcare quality and access, we hope to provide countries across the development spectrum with valuable data on where improvements are most needed to have the biggest impact on the health of their nation.”

Globally, the index increased from 40.7 in 1990 to 53.7 in 2015 and 167 countries saw healthcare access and quality significantly improve.

In 2015, western European countries scored highest, while those in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania mainly scored the lowest. Within sub-Saharan Africa, 2015 healthcare performance in Cape Verde was among the middle of the table of all countries while Lesotho, Somalia and Chad were amongst the poorest performing countries. The same was true of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. While many countries in western Europe alongside Canada, Japan and Australia were ranked in the top-performing group, the United Kingdom and United States of America were outpaced by their peers, ranking in the second-best group.

As per the report, Andorra maintained its top ranking from 1990 and with a rating of 94.6 out of 100 in 2015. Other than Switzerland the rest of the top 5 performers were Nordic countries (Andorra (94.6), Iceland (93.6), Switzerland (91.8), Sweden (90.5), Norway (90.5).

Between 1990 and 2015, South Korea, Turkey, Peru, China and the Maldives recorded some of the largest improvements (increasing by 24.1, 24.9, 23.7, 24.7 and 29.6 since 1990, respectively). Importantly, for 62 countries the gap between their actual and expected rating widened, particularly in southern sub-Saharan African countries (Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe), Iraq, Pakistan and Honduras. Meanwhile, several countries performed very well considering their levels of development, such as in eastern and western sub-Saharan Africa (Burundi, Comoros and Rwanda), Turkey, Peru and South Korea.

Tags: healthcare, the lancet
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi