Sustainable development is not just about the environment; it is also about the people and their health and well-being. This is such an essential aspect of sustainability that the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) out of the 17 goals laid out by the UN was entirely devoted to it. Also called SDG3, it aims "to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages," and within that, SDG 3.8 aims to "achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all." The sad reality is that more than 50% of the planet lacks access to essential health services. Beyond a lack of access, inadequate healthcare financing and literacy also pose problems in healthcare equity, as discussed in our recent report. India has one of the highest out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures in the world. Around 63% of total health expenditure in the country comes from OOP. Despite government-funded insurance programs, more than 90% of India's poorest do not have health insurance. Low-income families are typically excluded from the formal banking system, leading them to borrow elsewhere, often from predatory lenders, at exorbitant interest rates, which drives them further into poverty.
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