Recent report of United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) indicated a large global rural population of 56 per cent having no access to critical healthcare. The disparity in healthcare widens when rural household conditions are coupled with poverty. Such instances abound in Africa where up to 83 per cent of the people don’t have these health facilities. Numerous factors have come in focus for the disparity in healthcare among rural people including lack of health funding by the governments and legal coverage to the population, insufficient number of health workers deputed in rural areas and high out of pocket personal expenditure on healthcare. The report shows that all countries can afford and include rural health as part of its national health system. Change in mindset and efficient management is the key to moving forward. Till now many countries have underinvested in health for a very long period of time resulting in this huge urban rural disparity in healthcare. As an example of this, almost half of the world population lives in rural areas whereas only 23 per cent of the healthcare workers are deployed in these area. Even healthcare guaranteed by law in many countries has not yielded desired results because of the apathy of the administration. The most disadvantaged continents in this regard are Africa and Latin America. Insuring healthcare to every person and removing disparities based on rural status and poverty is a must for the welfare of human race.
Professor S. P. Singh, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Human Biology Review
Former Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences,
Punjabi University, Patiala, India