Health spending, which estimates for 10 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), is forcing 100 million people into extreme poverty every year, states a World Health Organization (WHO) report.
Health spending is made up of government expenditure, out-of-pocket payments (people paying for their own care) and sources such as voluntary health insurance, employer-provided health programmes, and activities by non-governmental organizations.
‘The report 2018 Global Health Expenditure showed that in low and middle-income countries health spending is increasing on average 6 percent annually compared with 4 percent in high-income countries.’
While governments provide an average of 51 percent of a country's health spending, more than 35 percent of health spending per country comes from out-of-pocket expenses. And as a consequence, 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year, the report said.
"Increased domestic spending is essential for achieving universal health coverage and the health-related sustainable development goals," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement on Wednesday.
"But health spending is not a cost, it's an investment in poverty reduction, jobs, productivity, inclusive economic growth, and healthier, safer, fairer societies," Ghebreyesus added.
In middle-income countries, government health expenditure per capita has doubled since the year 2000. On average, governments spend $60 per person on health in lower-middle income countries and close to $270 per person in upper-middle income countries.
However, in low and middle-income countries, new data suggest that more than half of health spending is devoted to primary healthcare. Yet less than 40 percent of all spending on primary healthcare comes from governments.
In 2018 October, all 194 member states of the global health body recognized the importance of primary healthcare. The WHO urged them to act and prioritize spending on quality healthcare in the community.
The report also examined the role of external funding. As domestic spending increases, the proportion of funding provided by external aid dropped to less than 1 percent of global health expenditure. Almost half of these external funds are devoted to three diseases HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.