An ambitious plan to achieve global access to healthcare could require national governments and donors to pay $371 billion each year by 2030, according to a new report.
The World Health Organization estimates it would cost $58 per person each year to reach all of its sustainable development goal (SDG) healthcare targets by 2030. For the “progress” scenario, where two-thirds of the goals are accomplished by 2030, investments would likely increase to $274 billion by that year.
The initial investment rate is $134 billion, according to the report, which was published in the Lancet. The analysis does not include the world’s wealthiest countries, and instead focuses on middle- and lower-income nations. Most nations can afford this level of investment, according to the WHO, but the poorest will require outside aid.
If the goals are reached, the organization estimates that about 97 million premature deaths could be prevented between now and 2030, including more than 50 million infants and children who are either stillborn or die before the age of 5. The investment could add more than 8 years to the life expectancy of people in some countries, the WHO projects.
The sustainable development goals were adopted in 2015 by the United Nations, and include 17 goals and 169 targets aimed at creating a healthier and safer world by 2030.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ph.D., the director general of the WHO, said in an accompanying column that universal healthcare coverage and access is one of the organization’s main goals, and that it is possible to achieve.
“Universal health coverage is ultimately a political choice. It is the responsibility of every country and national government to pursue it,” he said. “Countries have unique needs, and tailored political negotiations will determine domestic resource mobilization.”
The SDG does not prescribe how much countries should spend on health, according to the WHO, but instead should be used as a tool to inform further research on how to best accomplish those goals. The organization will release updates every five years on cost estimates and progress.