Hospital rooms in 9 countries around the world reveal the global disparity in healthcare

Ward physician Thomas Klotzkowski (L) and doctor for tropical medicine Florian Steiner wearing protective suits, stand in a sick unit at the quarantine station for patients with infectious diseases at the Charite hospital in Berlin August 11, 2014.

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Ward physician Thomas Klotzkowski (L) and doctor for tropical medicine Florian Steiner wearing protective suits, stand in a sick unit at the quarantine station for patients with infectious diseases at the Charite hospital in Berlin August 11, 2014.
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REUTERS/Thomas Peter

From the most high-tech infectious disease units in Berlin to ad-hoc vaccination clinics in rural Sierra Leone, there’s a huge disparity in the quality of healthcare around the world.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 400 million people worldwide don’t have access to basic medical services like immunization, prenatal care, and antibiotics. For those who do have access, healthcare can still be prohibitively expensive.

The WHO estimates that 6% of people in lower-income countries are pushed into extreme poverty – defined as living on less than $1.25 USD per day – by spending on healthcare-related costs.

While not all developed countries provide healthcare as a birthright for all citizens, some countries, through a mix of private and public hospitals, offer much more effective care than others.

The US has some of the most highly-trained medical staff in the world, but healthcare can be prohibitively expensive for much of the population.

Countries like Thailand and Malaysia, on the other hand, attract medical tourists from around the world who may pay less for elective procedures than they would in their home country, in hospitals that offer luxurious accommodations with expert doctors and nurses.

Check out what hospital rooms look like in countries around the world.


In Sierra Leone, many hospitals are underfunded and ill-equipped to handle large crises like the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

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A health worker attends to a patient at the maternity ward in the government hospital in Koidu, Kono district in eastern Sierra Leone, December 20, 2014
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REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The country needed outside volunteers to help tackle the epidemic, and provide more training to local doctors and nurses.

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REUTERS/Noor Khamis

In Haiti, the story’s similar. Underfunded hospitals are forced to care for huge populations of people — especially after natural disasters like hurricanes.

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REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Many Haitians lack access to basic health care services.

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A child receives treatment at the cholera treatment center at the hospital after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie, Haiti, October 13, 2016.
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REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

After major hurricanes, surviving buildings are turned into makeshift emergency wards, like this cholera clinic.

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A girl is being treated at the cholera treatment center at the hospital after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie, Haiti, October 15, 2016.
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REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

India is a microcosm of the global healthcare disparity. Some hospitals, serving mostly poor, rural populations, suffer from rampant mismanagement to the point where patients have died because of faulty equipment and avoidable infection.

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A man sleeps in a room containing oxygen tanks in the Baba Raghav Das hospital in Gorakhpur district, India August 13, 2017
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REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Source: Reuters


Supplies of medical oxygen were cut to children in the intensive care unit of Baba Raghav Das in Uttar Pradesh, in the northern part of the country, leading to the deaths of over 60 children.

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Women look into the Intensive care unit in the Baba Raghav Das hospital in Gorakhpur district, India August 14, 2017
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REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Officials in India are still investigating, and trading blame over who was at fault.

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A woman looks into the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Baba Raghav Das hospital in the Gorakhpur district, India August 14, 2017
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REUTERS/Cathal McNaughto

In Kenya, the hospitals are more well-equipped to handle outbreaks of disease, though there are also mismanagement issues.

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Medical practitioners attend to a cholera patient inside a special ward at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya July 19, 2017
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REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Earlier this month, a nurse admitted the wrong patient for brain surgery, causing doctors to protest Kenyatta National Hospital’s leadership.

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Medical practitioners attend to a cholera patient inside a special ward at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya July 19, 2017.
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REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Source: CBS News


China, with a population of well over a billion people, suffers from overcrowding in some healthcare facilities.

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A staff keeps order as families with children undergoing medical checks for possible kidney stones wait their turn at a hospital in Hefei, Anhui province September 19, 2008
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REUTERS/Jianan Yu

In Hefei, an industrial Chinese city, multiple families pack into one room.

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Relatives of patients rest along their beds at a crowded hospital in Hefei, Anhui province March 11, 2012
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REUTERS/Jianan Yu

Rural residents flood China’s cities for medical care, forcing hospitals to rent apartment buildings and hotel rooms for patients.

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Yuan Yunping wipes sweat from his face as he eats dinner, which his son cooked for him, in his room at the accommodation where some patients and their family members stay while seeking medical treatment in Beijing, China, January 13, 2016
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REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A patient’s family will often stay with them in the rented rooms to assist with cooking and cleaning.

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Wang eats breakfast, which her husband Liu cooked, in her room at the accommodation where some patients and their family members stay while seeking medical treatment in Beijing, China, June 23, 2016
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REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

For rural residents, the hospitals in cities like Beijing and Shanghai are much better equipped to handle serious conditions.

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Huang Chenfeng (R), 63, and her husband Zheng Dingguo, 63, pose for a picture at Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center in Shanghai, China, February 6, 2018.
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REUTERS/Aly Song

The US has some of the most high-tech hospitals in the world. Here, a room is pictured at the newly-constructed Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center in 2017.

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REUTERS/Mike Blake

The Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center has some of the most advanced medical technology and highly-trained staff of any hospital in the world.

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REUTERS/Mike Blake

Countries like Germany are also much better equipped to handle disease outbreaks than places like Sierra Leone. In Berlin, specialists demonstrate the facilities in the quarantine section of an infectious disease unit.

Ward physician Thomas Klotzkowski (L) and doctor for tropical medicine Florian Steiner wearing protective suits, stand in a sick unit at the quarantine station for patients with infectious diseases at the Charite hospital in Berlin August 11, 2014.

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Ward physician Thomas Klotzkowski (L) and doctor for tropical medicine Florian Steiner wearing protective suits in the Charite hospital in Berlin August 11, 2014.
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REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Countries like Malaysia and Thailand attract medical tourists from around the world. They have state-of-the-art hospitals with many doctors trained in Europe, Australia, and North America.

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Forensic Medical Officer Dr. Kastoori Karuppanan shows the Digital Autopsy forensic application, a three-dimensional capabilities to view and dissect inside and outside of the digital body in high definition visuals at a mortuary at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
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REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

Thailand’s medical system is regarded as one of the highest quality in the world.

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Newborn babies wearing dog costumes to celebrate the New Year of the Dog are pictured in Paolo Chokchai 4 Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.
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REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

This baby, though it doesn’t appear happy about it, is receiving high-quality care in Bangkok.

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REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha