This week’s IELTS Reading Exercise is based on the IELTS Reading True/False/Not Given format.
The article below is actually part of one that I wrote myself on the Asian healthcare crisis, and which was published by Health Investor Asia. You can read the full article at http://www.healthinvestorasia.com/ShowArticle.aspx?ID=3850
One note on vocabulary: The money that you pay for an insurance policy is known as the insurance premium.
Read the following passage and then answer Questions 1-7:
Less than a month into 2018 and already I have received invitations for two separate healthcare conferences targeting “The Asian Healthcare Crisis”. That the healthcare systems of many Asian countries face significant challenges is probably not in dispute. In July last year a public hospital in India made headlines around the world when it was reported to have run out of oxygen supplies, resulting in the deaths of over sixty children. The true horror of this event lay not in the headline but in the conclusion of the official investigation which noted the total number of deaths for that month was in fact a significant improvement on the figure for July 2016 when 292 patients had died.
Another less headline-grabbing but potentially greater problem is the aging population demographic of many countries in Asia. China’s one-child policy has made it the world’s most rapidly aging society, with the United Nations projecting that by 2050 over 27% of the population will be over 65 years of age. The grey wall of China will place a huge strain on the country’s already overburdened healthcare resources, and will require a dramatic rethink of government policies that currently place little emphasis on issues of aged care.
The third challenge for Asia, one which will be familiar to readers in many other parts of the world, is the rising cost of healthcare. Last year, the WHO released a report estimating that each year over 100 million people, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, are pushed into extreme poverty due to healthcare costs. In the Philippines and other countries in Asia there have even been reports of hospitals forcibly detaining patients until outstanding bills have been paid.
So, the problems are real, and easy solutions not evident. Governments in Asia’s developing countries have to date focused much of their attention and resources on economic growth, at the expense of investment in healthcare infrastructure. There are sound reasons for doing this. Economic growth in Vietnam during the 1990s reduced the proportion of Vietnamese living in poverty from 58% to 37%, meaning that millions more people could now afford access to at least basic healthcare. The problem in Vietnam now is the accessibility, quality, and cost of that healthcare. Government policy change is required in many Asian countries, but this is unlikely to occur quickly or easily. Another solution is sought, and the question that many are asking is whether insurance could be used to address these problems?
The short answer is yes, insurance could indeed be used to address these problems. However, there is no “one size fits all” solution that a country can buy off the shelf. What’s more, the introduction of insurance solutions will itself require change in government policy, in cultural attitudes, and in the expectations of insurers themselves. And, of course, there is always the question of who should pay the premiums.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the passage?
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
- The number of deaths at the hospital in July, 2017 was higher than the number for July 2016.
- China is the world’s most rapidly ageing society.
- Healthcare costs push many people into poverty.
- There is a shortage of qualified nurses in some countries.
- There is no need to change Government policy in many Asian countries.
- Insurance could be used to address some of Asia’s healthcare problems.
- Governments should pay healthcare insurance premiums.
As usual, registered IELTS Guy users will receive suggested answers by email over the weekend, and IELTS Guy subscribers will receive personalized feedback on their response.
Questions, feedback and comments are always welcome.
The IELTS Guy