The unequal impact of COVID-19 is being felt the world over: it’s seen in the differences between richer and poorer countries, and in the differences between richer and poorer communities within countries too.

But we knew this prior to the pandemic: when the world’s health is in danger, the poorest and most vulnerable suffer most, but get treated last.

We spoke to some health experts to learn more about health inequalities globally, how they come about and impact people’s lives, and how we can take steps now to help solve the problem.

“Put simply, health inequality means different health outcomes for different people, and some sections of society suffering poorer outcomes — normally as a result of them not having the same access to health services, or health services not being adapted to their needs,” Louise McGrath, the director of programmes at a leading UK health NGO, the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), told Global Citizen.

In low- and middle-income countries people often pay out of pocket for health care, even at public hospitals, McGrath explained. Provision can also be patchy within countries — it might be easier to access a high quality hospital in a city, for example, than it would be in a rural area. Meanwhile, information about what health care is available is sometimes lacking, meaning people often don’t seek treatment even when they could, she said.

“The challenges of reaching everyone with the right health care is to make sure that the health system as a whole functions,” McGrath said. “If there’s a health workforce but there isn’t the equipment to deliver services, or those services aren’t well managed, then it’s going to falter.”

Read the full article about solving global health inequalities by Helen Lock at Global Citizen.