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Access to healthcare is a requirement for human well-being that is constrained, in part, by the allocation of healthcare resources relative to the geographically dispersed human population1-3. Quantifying access to care globally is challenging due to the absence of a comprehensive database of healthcare facilities. We harness major data collection efforts underway by OpenStreetMap, Google Maps and academic researchers to compile the most complete collection of facility locations to date. Leveraging the geographically variable strengths of our facility datasets, we use an established methodology4 to characterize travel time to healthcare facilities in unprecedented detail. We produce maps of travel time with and without access to motorized transport, thus characterizing travel time to healthcare for populations distributed across the wealth spectrum. We find that just 8.9% of the global population (646 million people) cannot reach healthcare within one hour if they have access to motorized transport, and that 43.3% (3.16 billion people) cannot reach a healthcare facility by foot within one hour. Our maps highlight an additional vulnerability faced by poorer individuals in remote areas and can help to estimate whether individuals will seek healthcare when it is needed, as well as providing an evidence base for efficiently distributing limited healthcare and transportation resources to underserved populations both now and in the future.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s41591-020-1059-1

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nat Med

Publication Date

28/09/2020