Half of World’s Rural Populations Cannot Access Health Care

Monday, April 27, 2015

More than half the population of rural areas worldwide do not have access to basic health care, with four in five rural Africans lacking services, the United Nations said Monday.

In the first report of its kind, the UN’s International Labour Organization found that the rural-urban divide was omnipresent from the richest countries down to the poorest.

Fifty-six percent of those living in rural areas worldwide were not covered by basic health care against 22 percent in cities and towns, according to the report, with data from 174 countries.

“The results that we found are really shocking. We find that the rural-urban divide is a consistent feature at global, regional and national levels,” the report’s author Xelia Scheil-Adlung, told a news conference.

“The place of residence can be considered as the entry door to access to health care or as the key barrier to be excluded from health care,” she said.

An overwhelming 83 percent of Africans in rural areas were left uncovered, the report said.

“The situation is worsened by the lack of health workers in the world’s rural areas,” the report said, adding that although half of the world’s population lived in these areas, only 23 percent of the global health workforce was deployed there.

Source: The Economic Times (link opens in a new window)

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