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Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2018

Measuring Progress towards Universal Health Coverage

image of Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2018

This fifth edition of Health at a Glance Asia/Pacific presents a set of key indicators of health status, the determinants of health, health care resources and utilisation, health care expenditure and financing and quality of care across 27 Asia-Pacific countries and territories. It also provides a series of dashboards to compare performance across countries, and a thematic analysis on health inequalities. Drawing on a wide range of data sources, it builds on the format used in previous editions of Health at a Glance, and gives readers a better understanding of the factors that affect the health of populations and the performance of health systems in these countries and territories. Each of the indicators is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, brief descriptive analyses highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological box on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability. An annex provides additional information on the demographic context in which health systems operate.

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Water and sanitation

Safe water and adequate sanitation are vital to individual health, livelihood and well-being. Exposure to diarrhoea-causing agents is frequently related to the use of contaminated water and to unhygienic practices in food preparation and disposal of excreta. Globally, diarrhoeal diseases are responsible for the deaths of 525 000 children under age 5 every year (WHO, www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diarrhoeal-disease). It was estimated that 88% of that burden is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene and is mostly concentrated on children in developing countries (UNICEF and WHO, 2017b). Better access to water and sanitation contributes to better health but also leads to great social and economic benefits, whether through higher educational participation, improved living standards, lower health care costs or a more productive labour force. The United Nations set a target of achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all, as well as achieving access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation by 2030. Furthermore, UNICEF’s strategy for WASH (UNICEF, 2017) seeks to ensure that every child lives in a clean and safe environment, gains access to basic sanitation and safe drinking water in early childhood development centres, school, health centres and in humanitarian situations.

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Graphs

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