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Press Release

Press Releases

Health Poverty Action: UN move could save millions of lives

Health Poverty Action press release

Millions of lives across developing countries could be saved if the United Nations today votes through a resolution for free universal health coverage, according to a British charity.

Every year millions of people around the world are pushed into poverty because they have to pay fees up front for medical care. The UN resolution being voted on today will state that all countries need to ensure everyone has access to health care regardless of wealth by using a system that avoids charging significant fees.

The UK is a co-sponsor of the resolution, which is based on similar principles to the NHS. It is backed by 56 countries including the United States.

Worldwide 800 women die in childbirth daily and each year almost four million babies die within a month of being born. Access to health care which is free at the point of need is supported by the World Health Organisation as a vital step towards reducing the number of needless deaths.

The UN resolution comes as world leaders are preparing to devise a new framework for international development to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015. David Cameron is leading these talks and many health organisations are urging the inclusion of Universal Health Coverage.

Health Poverty Action, a UK based NGO that supports strong health systems in developing countries and has campaigned for the UN resolution, believes health services should be financed in a way that ensures everyone has access to quality care regardless of wealth, through taxation and social insurance.

Martin Drewry, Director of Health Poverty Action, said:

“Every day lives are lost because people simply can’t afford to pay to see a doctor. It’s a disgrace. If all countries had a system in which people didn’t have to pay on the spot fees, like ours in the UK, millions of lives would be saved. Say what you like about the NHS, no one is turned away because they can’t afford to pay.



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