Syndicate content

Add new comment

Submitted by Marianne Brown on

You write: The recent Lancet Commission on Investing in Health chaired by Larry Summers concluded that universal health coverage is one of the most compelling investments a government can make.

This is not accurate. I have read the report closely. It is excellent. There were 11 areas in health where the commission recommended more effort. UHC is numbe 9 on this list and the recommendation is decidedly cautious, with qualifiers, and even suggesting "progressive realization " of the goal. It took Germany 100 years to achieve UHC. The Lancet report recommends other much more needed investments with high returns to achieve grand convergence in health status. Their goals are better health , not U HC for more disease and therefore needs for still more health care. Prevention is far, far better than the cure as the high level panelists said.

Neither prof. Summers, nor Mr. Bloomberg recommended UHC during the panel discussion. See panel 4 video. The finance minister from Nigeria, with great experience in development, said that of course UHC is nice, but "show me how". She and Larry Summers said that education of girls will prevent the vast majority of the health burdens. Add sanitation and water and the country will be far better off, with less poverty and more health, than if you focus just on access to medical services and making them free- ofcharge for the poor.

Many more people are poor and ill because they cannot afford food than poverty caused by medical care fees. Why did the World Bank decide to push free medical services and not free food for the poor? Focus on UHC may well hinder progress toward poverty elimination because far more powerful investments in nutrition, prevention and infrastructure will not be made. A denial of the existence of choice is not what I would expect from the World Bank.