World Bank President Announces Targets For Universal Health Coverage

“Ensuring greater access to affordable health care is a crucial factor in alleviating poverty and promoting economic growth, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Friday in announcing ambitious targets for preventing and treating chronic illnesses in developing countries,” the Associated Press reports. “The consensus among many familiar with development and poverty alleviation is that providing universal health coverage is vital for economic development, said officials attending a conference in Tokyo,” the news service writes (Kurtenback, 12/5). “Kim has very specific goals: reducing the number of people impoverished by health care expenses by half to 50 million in 2020, and to zero by 2030,” the Wall Street Journal notes (Obe, 12/6).

“Universal health coverage is not only morally correct, but vital for a country’s economic development,” Kim told the conference, according to Agence France-Presse. “The gathering was aimed at spreading the take-up of universal health care to developing nations, with the emphasis on how it could boost growth in poorer countries,” AFP adds (12/5). “Both universal health care and disaster management take investments. But Mr. Kim said that political will, rather than financing, is the biggest obstacle, at least for universal health care coverage,” the Wall Street Journal writes (12/6).