Global Access to Healthcare

January 24, 2018


January 24, 2018

Martin Koehring

Senior Manager for Sustainability, Climate Change and Natural Resources & Head of the World Ocean Initiative

Martin Koehring is senior manager for sustainability, climate change and natural resources at (part of The Economist Group). He leads Economist Impact's sustainability-related policy and thought leadership projects in the EMEA region. He is also the head of the, inspiring bold thinking, new partnerships and the most effective action to build a sustainable ocean economy.

He is a member of the Advisory Committee for the UN Environment Programme’s Global Environment Outlook for Business and is a faculty member in the Food & Sustainability Certificate Program provided by the European Institute for Innovation and Sustainability.

His previous roles at The Economist Group, where he has been since 2011, include managing editor, global health lead and Europe editor at The Economist Intelligence Unit.

He earned a bachelor of economic and social studies in international relations from Aberystwyth University and a master’s degree in diplomacy and international relations from the College of Europe.


Access to healthcare is a key topic of debate worldwide. Countries are facing a range of healthcare challenges, from rising numbers of patients with multiple chronic diseases amid population ageing to providing access to new and innovative treatments that are also cost-effective. Healthcare systems must reconcile these challenges against a backdrop of already stretched budgets. As a result, the ability of populations to access the healthcare they need is increasingly under the spotlight.

In 2016 The Economist Intelligence Unit developed the Global Access to Healthcare Index to measure how healthcare systems across 60 countries are working to offer solutions to the most pressing healthcare needs of their populations. The index looks at access to healthcare through a set of accessibility and healthcare-system measures, thereby assessing both the current track record of countries in meeting their populations’ healthcare needs and the extent to which they have established the necessary health infrastructure to provide sustained access. This is done by assessing countries on a total of 23 sub-indicators within these two domains to evaluate whether citizens in each country have access to the appropriate health services.

The index examines access to specific kinds of care, including child and maternal health services, care for patients with infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), access to medicines, and the extent to which there are inequities in access (accessibility domain). The index also measures the conditions that allow for good access to effective and relevant healthcare services, such as policy, institutions and infrastructure (healthcare systems domain).

The index finds that performance in the accessibility domain is generally stronger than in the healthcare systems domain, suggesting that much more needs to be done to develop and extend coverage, the geographical reach of infrastructure, equity of access, and efficiency to improve the sustainability of health systems. And while developed countries are generally among the top performers in our ranking system, the results of the index show that, given enough political will and public faith in government institutions and other healthcare providers, even smaller, less wealthy countries can perform well.

This white paper is part of a series called "Access to Healthcare". Click Here to read the full series.

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