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Low quality healthcare is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally

last modified Jul 27, 2018 02:45 PM
Poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels, according to a new joint report by the OECD, World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank.

Today, inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, inappropriate or unnecessary treatment, inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities or practices, or providers who lack adequate training and expertise prevail in all countries.

OECDThe situation is worst in low and middle-income countries where 10 percent of hospitalized patients can expect to acquire an infection during their stay, as compared to seven percent in high-income countries. This is despite hospital-acquired infections being easily avoided through better hygiene and appropriate use of antimicrobials. At the same time, one in ten patients is harmed during medical treatment in high-income countries.

These are just some of the highlights from Delivering Quality Health Services – a Global Imperative for Universal Health Coverage. The report also highlights that sickness associated with poor quality health care imposes additional expenditure on families and health systems.

There has been some progress in improving quality, for example in survival rates for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Even so, the broader economic and social costs of poor quality care, including long-term disability, impairment and lost productivity, are estimated to amount to trillions of dollars each year

"Without quality health services, universal health coverage will remain an empty promise," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. "The economic and social benefits are clear and we need to see a much stronger focus on investing in and improving quality to create trust in health services and give everyone access to high-quality, people-centred health services." 

 

To access the full report, please visit the OECD Library website.

Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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