The pandemic triggered the worst economic crisis since the 1930s
More than half a billion people were pushed or further pushed into extreme poverty.
New evidence compiled by the World Health Organization and the World Bank shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to halt two decades of global progress towards Universal Health Coverage.
The organizations also reveal that already before the pandemic more than half a billion people were pushed or further pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets, and that the pandemic is likely to make the situation worse.
The findings are contained in two complementary reports, launched on Universal Health Coverage Day, highlighting the devastating impact of COVID-19 on people’s ability to obtain health care and pay for it.
In 2020, the pandemic disrupted health services and stretched countries’ health systems beyond their limits as they struggled to deal with the impact of COVID-19. As a result, for example, immunization coverage dropped for the first time in ten years, and deaths from TB and malaria increased.
The pandemic also triggered the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, making it increasingly difficult for people to pay for care.
Even before the pandemic, half a billion people were being pushed (or pushed still further) into extreme poverty because of payments they made for health care. The organizations expect that that number is now considerably higher.