Healthcare’s a human right, not ‘a privilege for the rich’ UNAIDS argues at Davos
The UN agency devoted to ending AIDS as a public health threat is calling on top politicians and governments across the world to ensure the right to quality healthcare is upheld, and not just a privilege to be enjoyed by the wealthy.
In a press release issued as the World Economic Forum gets fully underway in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said that the right to health “is eluding the poor and people trying to lift themselves out of poverty are being crushed by the unacceptably high costs of health care”, with at least half the world’s population unable to access essential health services.
“The richest one per cent benefit from cutting-edge science while the poor struggle to get even basic health care,” she added.
The independent international Forum (WEF) in Davos is an annual gathering, committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders in reshaping the economic agenda.
Every two minutes a woman dies while giving birth, said the agency, with vulnerable women, adolescents, people living with HIV, gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who inject drugs, transgender people, migrants, refugees and the poor, among the billions being left behind.
Nearly 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty (defined as living on $1.90 or less a day) because they have to pay for health care, and more than 930 million people – around 12% of the world’s population – spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health care, said UNAIDS.
In many countries, people are denied health care or receive poor quality health care because of unaffordable user fees.
Stigma and discrimination denies poor and vulnerable people, especially women, their right to health.