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First-ever global study finds massive health care inequity

People dying of preventable causes at rates higher than expected; study informs US health care debate; America's ranking is 'an embarrassment'

Date:
May 19, 2017
Source:
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
Summary:
A first-ever global study has found massive inequity of access to and quality of health care among and within countries, and concludes people are dying from causes with well-known treatments.
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A first-ever global study finds massive inequity of access to and quality of health care among and within countries, and concludes people are dying from causes with well-known treatments.

"What we have found about health care access and quality is disturbing," said Dr. Christopher Murray, senior author of the study and Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. "Having a strong economy does not guarantee good health care. Having great medical technology doesn't either. We know this because people are not getting the care that should be expected for diseases with established treatments."

For example, on a scale of 1 to 100 for health care access and quality, Norway and Australia each scored 90 overall, among the highest in the world. However, Norway scored 65 in its treatment for testicular cancer, and Australia scored 52 for treating non-melanoma skin cancer.

"In the majority of cases, both of these cancers can be treated effectively," Dr. Murray said. "Shouldn't it cause serious concern that people are dying of these causes in countries that have the resources to address them?"

The top-ranked nation was Andorra with an overall score of 95; its lowest treatment score was for Hodgkin's lymphoma at 70. The lowest-ranked nation was Central African Republic at 29; its highest treatment score was for diphtheria at 65.

Professor Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who participated in the study, commented: "Using deaths that could be avoided as a measure of the quality of a health system is not new but what makes this study so important is its scope, drawing on the vast data resources assembled by the Global Burden of Disease team to go beyond earlier work in rich countries to cover the entire world in great detail, as well as the development of a means to assess what a country should be able to achieve, recognizing that not all are at the same level of development. As the world's governments move ahead to implement the goal of universal health coverage, to which they committed in the Sustainable Development Goals, these data will provide a necessary baseline from which they can track progress."

The United States had an overall score of 81, tied with Estonia and Montenegro. As with many other nations, the US scored 100 in treating common vaccine-preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, tetanus, and measles. But the US had nine treatment categories in which it scored in the 60s: lower respiratory infections (60), neonatal disorders (69), non-melanoma skin cancer (68), Hodgkin's lymphoma (67), ischemic heart disease (62), hypertensive heart disease (64), diabetes (67), chronic kidney disease (62), and the adverse effects of medical treatment itself (68).

"America's ranking is an embarrassment, especially considering the US spends more than $9,000 per person on health care annually, more than any other country," Dr. Murray said. "Anyone with a stake in the current health care debate, including elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels, should take a look at where the US is falling short."

The study was published in the international medical journal The Lancet, and represents the first effort to assess access and quality of services in 195 countries from 1990 to 2015. Researchers used a Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index, based on death rates from 32 causes that could be avoided by timely and effective medical care, known as "amenable mortality."

Scores were based on estimates from the annual Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors study (GBD), a systematic, scientific effort to quantify the magnitude of health loss from all major diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and population. With more than 2,300 collaborators in 132 countries and 3 non-sovereign locations, GBD examines 300-plus diseases and injuries.

In addition, data were extracted from the most recent GBD update and evaluated using a Socio-demographic Index (SDI) based on rates of education, fertility, and income. SDI goes beyond the historical "developed" versus "developing" nations. Previous assessments of health quality and access were limited primarily to high-income countries, particularly in Western Europe.

Nations in much of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in south Asia and several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, experienced the lowest rankings. Nonetheless, many countries in these regions, including China (score: 74) and Ethiopia (score: 44), have seen sizeable gains since 1990.

The paper does offer some favorable signs of improvement in health care access and quality. Since 1990, several countries have achieved progress that met or surpassed levels reached by other nations of similar development. These countries included Turkey, Peru, South Korea, the Maldives, Niger, Jordan, and several Western European nations such as Switzerland, Spain, and France.

IHME plans each year to update the report, "Healthcare Access and Quality Index based on mortality from causes amenable to personal health care in 195 countries and territories, 1990-2015: a novel analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015." It aims to use these results to better understand gaps and opportunities for improving health care access throughout the world.

The Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index is a summary measure based on 32 causes, that in the presence of high-quality health care, should not result in death. These 32 causes were selected as part of research that Professor Martin McKee and Dr. Ellen Nolte, both co-authors in this study, began in the early 2000s. The causes are:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Diarrhea-related diseases
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Diphtheria
  • Whooping cough
  • Tetanus
  • Measles
  • Maternal disorders
  • Neonatal disorders
  • Colon and rectum cancer
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease (stroke)
  • Hypertensive heart disease
  • Chronic respiratory diseases
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Appendicitis
  • Inguinal, femoral, and abdominal hernia
  • Gallbladder and biliary diseases
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Congenital anomalies
  • Adverse effects of medical treatment

Story Source:

Materials provided by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

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Ryan M Barber, Nancy Fullman, Reed J D Sorensen, Thomas Bollyky, Martin McKee, Ellen Nolte, Amanuel Alemu Abajobir, Kalkidan Hassen Abate, Cristiana Abbafati, Kaja M Abbas, Foad Abd-Allah, Abdishakur M Abdulle, Ahmed Abdulahi Abdurahman, Semaw Ferede Abera, Biju Abraham, Girmatsion Fisseha Abreha, Kelemework Adane, Ademola Lukman Adelekan, Ifedayo Morayo O Adetifa, Ashkan Afshin, Arnav Agarwal, Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, Sunilkumar Agarwal, Anurag Agrawal, Aliasghar Ahmad Kiadaliri, Alireza Ahmadi, Kedir Yimam Ahmed, Muktar Beshir Ahmed, Rufus Olusola Akinyemi, Tomi F Akinyemiju, Nadia Akseer, Ziyad Al-Aly, Khurshid Alam, Noore Alam, Sayed Saidul Alam, Zewdie Aderaw Alemu, Kefyalew Addis Alene, Lily Alexander, Raghib Ali, Syed Danish Ali, Reza Alizadeh-Navaei, Ala'a Alkerwi, François Alla, Peter Allebeck, Christine Allen, Rajaa Al-Raddadi, Ubai Alsharif, Khalid A Altirkawi, Elena Alvarez Martin, Nelson Alvis-Guzman, Azmeraw T Amare, Erfan Amini, Walid Ammar, Joshu Amo-Adjei, Yaw Ampem Amoako, Benjamin O Anderson, Sofia Androudi, Hossein Ansari, Mustafa Geleto Ansha, Carl Abelardo T Antonio, Johan Ärnlöv, Al Artaman, Hamid Asayesh, Reza Assadi, Ayalew Astatkie, Tesfay Mehari Atey, Suleman Atique, Niguse Tadele Atnafu, Sachin R Atre, Leticia Avila-Burgos, Euripide Frinel G Arthur Avokpaho, Beatriz Paulina Ayala Quintanilla, Ashish Awasthi, Nebiyu Negussu Ayele, Peter Azzopardi, Huda Omer Ba Saleem, Till Bärnighausen, Umar Bacha, Alaa Badawi, Amitava Banerjee, Aleksandra Barac, Miguel A Barboza, Suzanne L Barker-Collo, Lope H Barrero, Sanjay Basu, Bernhard T Baune, Kaleab Baye, Yibeltal Tebekaw Bayou, Shahrzad Bazargan-Hejazi, Neeraj Bedi, Ettore Beghi, Yannick Béjot, Aminu K Bello, Derrick A Bennett, Isabela M Bensenor, Adugnaw Berhane, Eduardo Bernabé, Oscar Alberto Bernal, Addisu Shunu Beyene, Tariku Jibat Beyene, Zulfiqar A Bhutta, Sibhatu Biadgilign, Boris Bikbov, Sait Mentes Birlik, Charles Birungi, Stan Biryukov, Donal Bisanzio, Habtamu Mellie Bizuayehu, Dipan Bose, Michael Brainin, Michael Brauer, Alexandra Brazinova, Nicholas J K Breitborde, Hermann Brenner, Zahid A Butt, Rosario Cárdenas, Lucero Cahuana-Hurtado, Ismael Ricardo Campos-Nonato, Josip Car, Juan Jesus Carrero, Daniel Casey, Valeria Caso, Carlos A Castañeda-Orjuela, Jacqueline Castillo Rivas, Ferrán Catalá-López, Pedro Cecilio, Kelly Cercy, Fiona J Charlson, Alan Z Chen, Adrienne Chew, Mirriam Chibalabala, Chioma Ezinne Chibueze, Vesper Hichilombwe Chisumpa, Abdulaal A Chitheer, Rajiv Chowdhury, Hanne Christensen, Devasahayam Jesudas Christopher, Liliana G Ciobanu, Massimo Cirillo, Megan S Coggeshall, Leslie Trumbull Cooper, Monica Cortinovis, John A Crump, Koustuv Dalal, Hadi Danawi, Lalit Dandona, Rakhi Dandona, Paul I Dargan, Jose das Neves, Gail Davey, Dragos V Davitoiu, Kairat Davletov, Diego De Leo, Liana C Del Gobbo, Borja del Pozo-Cruz, Robert P Dellavalle, Kebede Deribe, Amare Deribew, Don C Des Jarlais, Subhojit Dey, Samath D Dharmaratne, Daniel Dicker, Eric L Ding, Klara Dokova, E Ray Dorsey, Kerrie E Doyle, Manisha Dubey, Rebecca Ehrenkranz, Christian Lycke Ellingsen, Iqbal Elyazar, Ahmadali Enayati, Sergey Petrovich Ermakov, Babak Eshrati, Alireza Esteghamati, Kara Estep, Thomas Fürst, Imad D A Faghmous, Fanuel Belayneh Bekele Fanuel, Emerito Jose Aquino Faraon, Talha A Farid, Carla Sofia e Sa Farinha, Andre Faro, Maryam S Farvid, Farshad Farzadfar, Valery L Feigin, Andrea B Feigl, Seyed-Mohammad Fereshtehnejad, Jefferson G Fernandes, João C Fernandes, Tesfaye Regassa Feyissa, Florian Fischer, Christina Fitzmaurice, Thomas D Fleming, Nataliya Foigt, Kyle J Foreman, Mohammad H Forouzanfar, Richard C Franklin, Joseph Frostad, Tsegaye Tewelde G/hiwot, Emmanuela Gakidou, Ketevan Gambashidze, Amiran Gamkrelidze, Wayne Gao, Alberto L Garcia-Basteiro, Teshome Gebre, Amanuel Tesfay Gebremedhin, Mengistu Welday Gebremichael, Alemseged Aregay Gebru, Amha Admasie Gelaye, Johanna M Geleijnse, Ricard Genova-Maleras, Katherine B Gibney, Ababi Zergaw Giref, Melkamu Dedefo Gishu, Giorgia Giussani, William W Godwin, Audra Gold, Ellen M Goldberg, Philimon N Gona, Amador Goodridge, Sameer Vali Gopalani, Atsushi Goto, Nicholas Graetz, Felix Greaves, Max Griswold, Peter Imre Guban, Harish Chander Gugnani, Prakash C Gupta, Rahul Gupta, Rajeev Gupta, Tanush Gupta, Vipin Gupta, Tesfa Dejenie Habtewold, Nima Hafezi-Nejad, Demewoz Haile, Alemayehu Desalegne Hailu, Gessessew Bugssa Hailu, Alex Hakuzimana, Randah Ribhi Hamadeh, Mitiku Teshome Hambisa, Samer Hamidi, Mouhanad Hammami, Graeme J Hankey, Yuantao Hao, Hilda L Harb, Habtamu Abera Hareri, Josep Maria Haro, Mohammad Sadegh Hassanvand, Rasmus Havmoeller, Roderick J Hay, Simon I Hay, Delia Hendrie, Ileana Beatriz Heredia-Pi, Hans W Hoek, Masako Horino, Nobuyuki Horita, H Dean Hosgood, Aung Soe Htet, Guoqing Hu, Hsiang Huang, John J Huang, Bethany M Huntley, Chantal Huynh, Kim Moesgaard Iburg, Bogdan Vasile Ileanu, Kaire Innos, Asnake Ararsa Irenso, Nader Jahanmehr, Mihajlo B Jakovljevic, Peter 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Sanjay Krishnaswami, Kristopher J Krohn, Barthelemy Kuate Defo, Burcu Kucuk Bicer, Ernst J Kuipers, Veena S Kulkarni, G Anil Kumar, Fekede Asefa Kumsa, Michael Kutz, Hmwe H Kyu, Anton Carl Jonas Lager, Aparna Lal, Dharmesh Kumar Lal, Ratilal Lalloo, Tea Lallukka, Qing Lan, Sinead M Langan, Van C Lansingh, Heidi J Larson, Anders Larsson, Dennis Odai Laryea, Asma Abdul Latif, Alicia Elena Beatriz Lawrynowicz, Janet L Leasher, James Leigh, Mall Leinsalu, Cheru Tesema Leshargie, Janni Leung, Ricky Leung, Miriam Levi, Xiaofeng Liang, Stephen S Lim, Margaret Lind, Shai Linn, Steven E Lipshultz, Patrick Liu, Yang Liu, Loon-Tzian Lo, Giancarlo Logroscino, Alan D Lopez, Scott A Lorch, Paulo A Lotufo, Rafael Lozano, Raimundas Lunevicius, Ronan A Lyons, Erlyn Rachelle King Macarayan, Mark T Mackay, Hassan Magdy Abd El Razek, Mohammed Magdy Abd El Razek, Mahdi Mahdavi, Azeem Majeed, Reza Malekzadeh, Deborah Carvalho Malta, Lorenzo G Mantovani, Tsegahun Manyazewal, Chabila C Mapoma, Wagner 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D Pond, V Prakash, Manorama Purwar, Mostafa Qorbani, D Alex Quistberg, Amir Radfar, Anwar Rafay, Kazem Rahimi, Vafa Rahimi-Movaghar, Mahfuzar Rahman, Mohammad Hifz Ur Rahman, Rajesh Kumar Rai, Usha Ram, Saleem M Rana, Zane Rankin, Paturi Vishnupriya Rao, Puja C Rao, Salman Rawaf, Maria Albertina Santiago Rego, Marissa Reitsma, Giuseppe Remuzzi, Andre M N N Renzaho, Serge Resnikoff, Satar Rezaei, Mohammad Sadegh Rezai, Antonio L Ribeiro, Hirbo Shore Roba, Mohammad Bagher Rokni, Luca Ronfani, Gholamreza Roshandel, Gregory A Roth, Dietrich Rothenbacher, Nawal K Roy, Perminder S Sachdev, Ben Benasco Sackey, Mohammad Yahya Saeedi, Saeid Safiri, Rajesh Sagar, Mohammad Ali Sahraian, Muhammad Muhammad Saleh, Joshua A Salomon, Abdallah M Samy, Juan Ramon Sanabria, Maria Dolores Sanchez-Niño, Logan Sandar, Itamar S Santos, João Vasco Santos, Milena M Santric Milicevic, Rodrigo Sarmiento-Suarez, Benn Sartorius, Maheswar Satpathy, Miloje Savic, Monika Sawhney, Mete I Saylan, Ben Schöttker, Aletta 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Saverio Stranges, Mark Strong, Konstantinos Stroumpoulis, Lela Sturua, Muawiyyah Babale Sufiyan, Rizwan Abdulkader Suliankatchi, Jiandong Sun, Patrick Sur, Soumya Swaminathan, Bryan L Sykes, Rafael Tabarés-Seisdedos, Karen M Tabb, Getachew Redae Taffere, Roberto Tchio Talongwa, Musharaf Tarajia, Mohammad Tavakkoli, Nuno Taveira, Stephanie Teeple, Teketo Kassaw Tegegne, Arash Tehrani-Banihashemi, Tesfalidet Tekelab, Dejen Yemane Tekle, Girma Temam Shifa, Abdullah Sulieman Terkawi, Azeb Gebresilassie Tesema, JS Thakur, Alan J Thomson, Taavi Tillmann, Tenaw Yimer Tiruye, Ruoyan Tobe-Gai, Marcello Tonelli, Roman Topor-Madry, Miguel Tortajada, Christopher Troeger, Thomas Truelsen, Abera Kenay Tura, Uche S Uchendu, Kingsley N Ukwaja, Eduardo A Undurraga, Chigozie Jesse Uneke, Olalekan A Uthman, Job F M van Boven, Rita Van Dingenen, Santosh Varughese, Tommi Vasankari, Narayanaswamy Venketasubramanian, Francesco S Violante, Sergey K Vladimirov, Vasiliy Victorovich Vlassov, Stein Emil Vollset, Theo Vos, Joseph A Wagner, Tolassa Wakayo, Stephen G Waller, Judd L Walson, Haidong Wang, Yuan-Pang Wang, David A Watkins, Elisabete Weiderpass, Robert G Weintraub, Chi-Pang Wen, Andrea Werdecker, Joshua Wesana, Ronny Westerman, Harvey A Whiteford, James D Wilkinson, Charles Shey Wiysonge, Belete Getahun Woldeyes, Charles D A Wolfe, Sungho Won, Abdulhalik Workicho, Shimelash Bitew Workie, Mamo Wubshet, Denis Xavier, Gelin Xu, Ajit Kumar Yadav, Mohsen Yaghoubi, Bereket Yakob, Lijing L Yan, Yuichiro Yano, Mehdi Yaseri, Hassen Hamid Yimam, Paul Yip, Naohiro Yonemoto, Seok-Jun Yoon, Mustafa Z Younis, Chuanhua Yu, Zoubida Zaidi, Maysaa El Sayed Zaki, Carlos Zambrana-Torrelio, Tomas Zapata, Zerihun Menlkalew Zenebe, Sanjay Zodpey, Leo Zoeckler, Liesl Joanna Zuhlke, Christopher J L Murray. Healthcare Access and Quality Index based on mortality from causes amenable to personal health care in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2015: a novel analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. The Lancet, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30818-8

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Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. "First-ever global study finds massive health care inequity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170519151438.htm>.
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. (2017, May 19). First-ever global study finds massive health care inequity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170519151438.htm
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. "First-ever global study finds massive health care inequity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170519151438.htm (accessed May 24, 2024).

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