World Bank’s Kim Says Health Care ‘Is a Right for Everyone’

Health care is a human right that all nations should seek to provide for everyone to help foster economic growth and political stability, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

“Health care is a right for everyone, in every country, rich or poor,” Kim said in remarks today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “Not providing health, education, and social protection is fundamentally unjust -- in addition to being a bad economic and political strategy.”

Speaking at a conference on expanding health care in emerging economies, Kim said that 40 percent of impoverished people in developing countries have access to basic health services, and the bank’s target is to double that amount to 80 percent coverage by 2030.

Establishing measurable goals, such as a World Health Organization initiative to provide HIV treatment to 3 million people by the end of 2005, for the World Bank’s 188 member countries is critical to the Washington-based bank’s goal of increasing access to health services.

“The lesson here is that setting a really bold target with a clear end date, even in the face of people saying you can’t do it, is exactly what communities like ours need in order to put the whole program together,” Kim said.

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