The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo says the African region is gravely concerned that at least half of the world’s population still lacks access to essential health services.

This emerged during the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland where the minister submitted an Afro-region group of 47 countries on the preparation for the high level meeting on Universal Health Coverage, to be held in New York this September.

In his address, Dr Moyo said relevant stakeholders should support member states’ efforts, with regard to health systems.

“It is saddening that almost 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket health expenses,” he said.

The Africa group is calling for particular focus on areas of non-communicable diseases, poverty eradication, migration, climate change and security.

The meeting on Universal Health Coverage is running under the theme: “Moving Together To Build A Healthier World”.