Reducing healthcare inequality

Reducing the gap between the healthcare rich and poor receive in 49 developing countries could save 700,000 mothers by 2015, a new report has revealed.

More than 16 million lives could be saved if the poverty gap was bridged in infant healthcare, including the provision of immunisations, the World Health Organization's (WHO) annual report found.

In the report, a link was also found between low maternal mortality rates and the presence of a trained healthcare worker during childbirth.

This is a feature more likely to be seen in richer or developed nations.

Margaret Chan, the WHO's director general, said: "This year's WHO report is designed to encourage every country in the world to adopt policies that will extend [healthcare] to more people and reduce the number of people who risk financial ruin," reports the Associated Press.