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10 Reasons Why Our World Needs Better Access to Low Cost, High Quality Healthcare

Have you heard about GE Healthcare’s healthymagination program? It is a six-year, $6 billion drive to improve the quality, affordability and availability of healthcare across the world.

Healthymagination involves multiple GE businesses and has made five key commitments to improving health within GE itself and across the world. Central to healthymagination is working toward product and service innovations, groundbreaking partnerships, employee wellness programs and other solutions aimed at improving every level of the global health system.

Healthymagination is about becoming healthier, through the sharing of imaginative ideas and proven solutions. It goes beyond innovations in the fields of technology and medicine, celebrating the people behind these advancements. Seeking to build stronger relationships between patients and doctors, GE created healthymagination to gather, share and discuss healthy ideas.

From India to Spain, Kenya to China, healthymagination has already helped provide health benefits across the globe.,. In its inaugural 12 months healthymagination has approved 24 healthymagination-validated products, established a $250 million equity fund, invested $700 million in research and development and launched the largest consumer campaign in GE’s history.

By 2015,healthymagination is on track to invest $3 billion in R&D, $2 billion in financing and $1 billion in technology and content, in addition to launching 100 innovative, low-cost products that will increase the availability and quality of healthcare.

But, why? We have compiled ten reasons (you may think of  many more) as to why we all need to keep working towards better access to affordable, effective, quality healthcare:

1-. Child mortality: The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set a target of 2015 to reach eight key objectives, covering environmental sustainability, education and global health. One key objective, child mortality, continues to fall. In 2008, the total annual number of deaths in children under 5 years old fell to 8.8 million, a reduction of 30% from the 12.4 million estimated in 1990. With continued access to good healthcare throughout the world this figure can continue to fall.

2-. Most pregnancy-related complications could be prevented if women had access to a skilled health worker during childbirth. Between 2000 and 2008, around 66% of women delivered with skilled assistance. However, in low-income countries, this figure was only 43%, compared with 95% in upper middle-income countries.

3-. In Africa, there are 900 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with only 27 per 100,000 in Europe. Half of all maternal deaths occur in Africa and another third in South-East Asia.

4-. Tuberculosis (TB) continued to slowly decline, reaching an estimated 140 cases per 100,000  in 2008. While there were some improvements in Africa, less than 50% of TB cases were reported in this region in 2008.

5-. Treatment costs for stroke are in excess of $100 billion — and recent research in both France and the UK has shown that diagnosing and treating what’s known as a ‘mini stroke’ (a transient ischemic attack, or TIA) within 24 hours can reduce the risk of subsequent stroke by 80 percent.

6-. Countries around the world, especially in Africa, are facing a severe crisis: a shortage in the health workforce. For instance, Sub-Saharan Africa holds 24 percent of the global burden of disease, yet it only has 3 percent of the world’s health workers.

7-. ‘Prevention is better than cure’, or so goes the old adage – but eating well can help to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tips for a sound diet: 

  • Base your meals on starchy foods
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
  • Eat more fish
  • Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
  • Try to eat less salt – no more than 6 grams a day
  • Get active and try to be at a healthy weight
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Don't skip breakfast

8-. Surveys conducted in approximately 30 low-income countries indicate that the availability of selected generic medicines at health facilities was only 44% in the public sector and 66% in the private sector. Lack of medicines in the public sector forces patients to purchase medicines privately. In the private sector, generic medicines cost on average 630% more than their international reference price.

9-. Stopping the spread of deadly infectious diseases: Nearly a million people died of malaria in 2006 – 95% of these people lived in sub-Saharan Africa, and the vast majority were children under five.

10-. Reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS: One of the MDGs is to achieve universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS by 2010.In 2008, an estimated 33.4 million people worldwide were living with HIV, including 2 million children aged 14 or younger.

Healthymagination is a shared commitment to creating better health for more people.  GE Healthcare continually invests and develops new ways to help continue the good work completed through the combined dedicated efforts of health organizations, individuals and charities around the world.   

For more information about healthymagination and its progress to date, visit