A key component of achieving universal health coverage is ensuring that all populations have access to quality health care. Examining where gains have occurred or progress has faltered across and within countries is crucial to guiding decisions and strategies for future improvement. We used the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2016 (GBD 2016) to assess personal health-care access and quality with the Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index for 195 countries and territories, as well as subnational locations in seven countries, from 1990 to 2016.
GBD 2016 provides a more detailed understanding of past success and current challenges in improving personal health-care access and quality worldwide. Despite substantial gains since 2000, many low-SDI and middle-SDI countries face considerable challenges unless heightened policy action and investments focus on advancing access to and quality of health care across key health services, especially non-communicable diseases. Stagnating or minimal improvements experienced by several low-middle to high-middle SDI countries could reflect the complexities of re-orienting both primary and secondary health-care services beyond the more limited foci of the Millennium Development Goals. Alongside initiatives to strengthen public health programmes, the pursuit of universal health coverage hinges upon improving both access and quality worldwide, and thus requires adopting a more comprehensive view—and subsequent provision—of quality health care for all populations./.../