Access to Health Care

Access to health care is a fundamental component in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3, which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Health care access is not just about the availability of health facilities, medicines, and qualified health care professionals, but also encompasses affordability, accessibility, and quality of these services. It is intrinsically linked to various other SDGs, reflecting the interconnected nature of health and broader sustainable development.

Firstly, the availability of comprehensive, quality health care services is crucial. This includes preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative care across all life stages. However, availability alone is insufficient; these services must be accessible physically and financially to everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status. This aspect highlights the importance of SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities) in achieving health-related goals. Financial barriers, such as high out-of-pocket expenses, can impede access to health services, leading to disparities in health outcomes.

Another key factor is the quality of health services. Quality health care should be safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable, and people-centered. This aligns with SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) by ensuring that health care systems provide quality jobs and contribute to broader economic development. Furthermore, a quality health care system promotes trust and respect between health care providers and the community, which is vital for the overall effectiveness of the health care system.

The relationship between health and education (SDG 4) is also significant. Educated individuals are more likely to understand health information and access health care services. Moreover, education leads to better health outcomes, as educated individuals are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and seek medical care when necessary.

Environmental factors, as addressed in SDGs 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and 13 (Climate Action), have a profound impact on health. Clean air, safe drinking water, and nutritious food are essential for good health. Therefore, efforts to improve environmental conditions directly contribute to better health outcomes and vice versa.

Additionally, health care access is related to gender equality (SDG 5). Women and girls often face unique health challenges and barriers to accessing health care. Addressing these challenges is essential for achieving gender equality and improving the health and well-being of women and girls.

THis supports SGDs 3 and 5 by supporting access to care and contraception.
Developing a working and inclusive definition of access to eye care.
Indigenous peoples in Canada are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and current research suggests that gaps most prominently present as delays in receiving care and as poorer long-term outcomes.
An Editorial on the burden of HIV on marginalised communities across the Americas, in the context of SDGs 3 and 10, focusing specifically on the need to improve access to and quality of treatment and care for these populations, which include Indigenous peoples.

Background: Many states in the United States (US) have introduced barriers to impede voting among individuals from socio-economically disadvantaged groups. This may reduce representation thereby decreasing access to lifesaving goods, such as health insurance. Methods: We used cross-sectional data from 242,727 adults in the 50 states and District of Columbia participating in the US 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). To quantify access to voting, the Cost of Voting Index (COVI), a global measure of barriers to voting within a state during a US election was used.

Data-driven digital health technologies have the power to transform health care. If these tools could be sustainably delivered at scale, they might have the potential to provide everyone, everywhere, with equitable access to expert-level care, narrowing the global health and wellbeing gap. Conversely, it is highly possible that these transformative technologies could exacerbate existing health-care inequalities instead.

Background: With the rapid demographic shift towards an ageing society, it is a concerted effort to facilitate elderly's access to healthcare in order to maintain and improve their quality of life. In China, hospital care services dominate the healthcare market, which requires a better understanding of accessibility to hospitals in order to rationally allocate resources in spatial and land use planning. However, little attention has been paid to analysing the geographical accessibility to hospitals specific to the elderly population.

Background: The relative importance of individual and country-level factors influencing access to diagnosis and treatment for depression across the world is fairly unknown. Methods: We analysed cross-national data from the WHO World Health Surveys. Depression diagnosis and access to health care were ascertained using a structured interview. Logistic Bayesian Multilevel analyses were performed to establish individual and country level factors associated with: (1) receiving a diagnosis and (2) accessing treatment for depression if a diagnosis was ascertained.