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Mortality due to low-quality health systems in the universal health coverage era: a systematic analysis of amenable deaths in 137 countries

Universal health coverage has been proposed as a strategy to improve health in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, this is contingent on the provision of good-quality health care. We estimate the excess mortality for conditions targeted in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that are amenable to health care and the portion of this excess mortality due to poor-quality care in 137 LMICs, in which excess mortality refers to deaths that could have been averted in settings with strong health systems. Methods Using data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease study, we calculated mortality amenable to personal health care for 61 SDG conditions by comparing case fatality between each LMIC with corresponding numbers from 23 high-income reference countries with strong health systems. We used data on health-care utilisation from population surveys to separately estimate the portion of amenable mortality attributable to non-utilisation of health care versus that attributable to receipt of poor-quality care.