A measure of the proportion of a population that reaches appropriate health services.
This concept is used to detect inequity in the use of services between different populations defined geographically, socially or in terms of their clinical condition.
The measure may also define the level of ease with which access is obtained: for example, the proportion that reaches local health services by the local means of transport in no more than one hour.
A distinction has been made between access in the sense of accessibility and actual utilization. In this case access is defined as the cost to the consumer of using health services whether the consumer uses those services or not.
Financial accessibility measures the extent to which people are able to pay for care, usually measured through a community-based willingness and ability to pay survey. Geographical accessibility measures the extent to which services are available and accessible to the population. It is linked to the distribution of infrastructure in a given region but also to the actual offering of these services at these facilities. Geographical accessibility will vary according to local means of transportation, as well as the local topography. Cultural accessibility considers whether access to health services is impeded by cultural taboos.