On 04 February 2019, Mawbima quoted the following statement made by Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratne:
“Within the world healthcare system, the fact that the best health service is provided by Cuba and Sri Lanka has been accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO).”
To check this claim, we consulted the WHO’s Tracking Universal Health Coverage: 2017 Global Monitoring Report.
This report provides an index that compares countries on the extent of their Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC is defined as: “All individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. UHC includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.”
The index assesses each country on a scale of 0 to 100. Countries with the highest level of service coverage are given a uniform score of ‘≥80’.
In 2015, 194 countries were assessed. 22 countries received a score of ‘≥80’. Neither Sri Lanka nor Cuba were among these; Cuba’s score was 78, while Sri Lanka’s was 62. This data indicates that Sri Lanka’s and Cuba’s health services are not at the same level, and that the WHO has not recognized either of them as being amongst the best health service within the world healthcare system.
The claim is indeed a popular misconception, but it has no basis in fact. We classify the minister’s statement as FALSE.
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