Healthcare in PeruPeru, known for being the home of Machu Picchu, has a population of 27.9 million people. Though currently experiencing an economic boom, the nation remains faced with a variety of other struggles, one of which is healthcare in Peru.

In comparison to the global life expectancy of 71.4 years, as reported by the World Health Organization, the average lifetimes of both male and female citizens in Peru are high, reported at 73 and 78 years respectively. Despite this high life expectancy, the country still loses many people each year due to struggles with health. Below are five things to know about healthcare in Peru.

  1. Peru spends 5.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on its health. The global average spent on health, as reported by the World Bank in 2014, was 9.92 percent. When compared to this average, the public expenditure on healthcare in Peru pales in comparison. However, the percent of its GDP that Peru spends on its health is still higher than the average that its neighboring countries spend, which is 5.12 percent.
  2. Lower respiratory infection is the leading cause of death in Peru. This cause was number one as reported in 2005, and remained number one in 2016. It was one of two leading causes that is communicable. Lower respiratory infections kill more men than women in Peru, though for both sexes, the infections peak at age 80 and above.
  3. Road injuries are among the top 10 causes of death in Peru when considering overall death rates as well as premature death rates. Despite the fact that it is one of Peru’s leading causes of death and disability, it is still below the mean in comparison to a group of countries chosen considering Global Burden of Disease regional classifications.
  4. The amount of healthcare workers in Peru has been increasing. Though the country normally has an issue with its retention of employees in the healthcare field, it is still an increasing trend. There are five separate entities that provide healthcare to Peru’s entire population. The Ministry of Health is the biggest contributor to improving healthcare in Peru by providing healthcare to 60 percent of the country’s population.
  5. Access to healthcare in Peru has improved by 23.7 in the last 25 years. The Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index reported that in 1990, Peru’s HAQ Index was 45.9 out of a best possible index of 66.7, whereas in 2015 the country’s HAQ Index was 69.6 out of a best possible index of 76.8. The best possible index is determined by a country’s development.

Though the country’s people have a higher life expectancy at birth when compared to the global average, there are still many issues regarding healthcare in Peru. Despite these issues, the increase in the amount of healthcare workers and the constantly increasing access to healthcare in Peru demonstrate progress for the country’s health.

– Haley Rogers

Photo: Flickr