A Global Challenge

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Access to Healthcare

Significant breakthroughs in diagnosing and treating serious diseases, as well as improvements in the delivery of healthcare, have steadily improved health outcomes and increased life expectancy in recent decades. However, universal access to medical innovation and quality healthcare remains a global challenge.

Healthcare resources and the demands on those resources vary widely from country to country, and even within countries. In some regions, the most sophisticated new medicines and diagnostic tests are readily available, while in others the healthcare infrastructure is so limited that basic medical care is still a luxury. These gaps may be growing as a rise in chronic diseases, combined with an ageing population, increased unemployment and economic pressures further aggravate inequalities in access to healthcare.

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Improving access to effective, quality healthcare requires a combination of products, services and systems, including:

  • adequate awareness and understanding of disease
  • functioning facilities and services (e.g. hospitals, clinics and laboratories) and trained healthcare professionals, along with screening and patient support programmes
  • safe and effective medicines, clinical guidelines how to use them and reliable supply channels
  • financial resources and government commitment to prioritise healthcare
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