Part 3: Investment & Economic Growth
The health care system is a positive contributor to the economy through a healthy workforce, increased GDP, innovation and exports.
In the largest poll conducted across the world, people valued health as their number one priority. They valued this more than a happy family life, or employment or even living in peace.
The relationship between the health of the population and economic growth and prosperity is poorly articulated.
Investing in health saves lives, prevents disease, heals, repairs and rehabilitates. It is therefore an investment in the wider economy.
Investment in health has been seen in many countries as a cost burden to the country’s resources. As such, there has often been a significant focus on economic constraint towards the health sector and a focus on efficiency.
But economists have concluded that the economic benefits of investment are nearly 10 times greater than the costs. Poor health impairs productivity, hinders job prospects and adversely affects human development.
When appropriately implemented, UHC ensures that every citizen has access to care regardless of their ability to pay.
UHC has been successfully implemented to some degree in 60 out of the world’s 195 countries, but WHO and the World Bank estimate that 400 million do not have access to essential health services and 40% of the world’s population live without health care coverage.
However, UHC has been incorporated as a sub-goal within the Sustainable Development Goals meaning that all UN member countries will aim to have it implemented by 2030.