Spanish HealthcareIn its 2020 Global Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum listed Spain as the country with the best healthcare system in the world. This is nothing new as Spain has been applauded for its efforts in improving national healthcare policies for years. The Global Competitiveness Report determined Spain’s rankings through analysis of the socio-economic situation of the country in comparison to other nations. The Spanish healthcare system earned a perfect score in the health pillar of the report and ranked 23rd overall with the rest of the 12 pillars included. The world is curious as to how Spain has achieved the best healthcare system globally and how it continues to maintain it.

Universal Health Insurance in Spain

The Spanish healthcare system provides both private and public healthcare options. Most Spanish citizens (90%) use the provided, universal public healthcare called the National Health System. The system is run by the Spanish Ministry of Health, which develops policy and manages the national health budget. Healthcare is free to anyone living and working in Spain. This also includes agreements with other countries, which allow Spanish citizens access to free emergency medical attention when visiting particular countries. The cost of health insurance is paid through social security payments made by employees and self-employed workers. This means dependents and spouses receive the same health insurance. Those who are not covered under these regulations can look to private insurance, which is also exceptional in the country.

Private Insurance

The private healthcare system works with the public system and offers combinations of public and private coverage to certain clients. Those not covered utilize private insurance. Likewise, Spanish citizens use private insurance to get access to more treatment resources at a faster rate. The average cost of private healthcare in Spain comes to about €50-200 per month. Less than 20% of Spanish citizens utilize private healthcare as most use a hybrid of private and public healthcare.

Healthcare Costs

Important to note in the Spanish healthcare system is cost. While the cost of Spanish healthcare comes from social security payments of citizens, it is a relatively low amount when compared with the national GDP percentage that goes into healthcare costs for the country and its citizens. The reason the Spanish healthcare system is successful is because of the cohesive and effective relationships between public service officials and private company operators. Without these successful relations, Spain would not be able to excel in its healthcare practices.

With the Spanish healthcare system, questions arise about the effectiveness of public healthcare. Even though most public healthcare is free of charge, in terms of quality and care, the private healthcare system is not superior to the public healthcare system. Spain’s best medical graduates practice in the public healthcare sphere. Even undocumented immigrants can access public healthcare treatment if they enter an emergency room.

Spain has made great strides in the world of public healthcare. Thousands of people are able to get healthcare without paying a significant amount of money in the process. The Spanish healthcare system acts as a guide to other nations so that everyone can have access to quality healthcare.

Grace Aprahamian
Photo: Flickr

Public Education_Africa
Although it invests more money into its education system than any other African country, South Africa is currently facing a public education crisis. One-quarter of students failed their final examinations this past school year. The dropout rate has also increased, resulting in less than half of current students completing their secondary education, which greatly contributes to the South African education crisis.

Students in South Africa often face challenges in the areas of mathematics and science. One explanation for this issue is that 25 percent of secondary schools do not offer math classes for grades 10 through 12. In 2014 and 2015, South Africa’s math and science programs ranked last out of 140 countries in the Global Competitiveness Report.

Language barriers between teachers and students are also a major dilemma, as South Africa is a very linguistically diverse country with 11 official languages. According to Professor John Volmink, in order to bridge the gap, teachers must be better equipped to teach English to their students.

Multiple leaders also point out the negative consequences of education stemming from apartheid. Schools of better quality are mostly located in predominately white areas, meaning that black students must travel to these schools or settle for sub-par schools in their neighborhoods. Though apartheid is over, the South African education system is still working to reduce its residual negative consequences.

South African Minister of Education Angie Motshekga recognizes the weaknesses in the South African education system and continues to work to overcome the legacy of apartheid. She also plans to work with unions to increase teacher attendance, allowing students more time in the classroom.

However, while these factors do play a part in the reality of the education system in South Africa, there is hope. Business Tech is quick to point out that the South African education crisis, and specifically the country’s rankings, do not “reflect the ability of the country’s learners but is indicative of an education system that needs urgent intervention.”

Some schools that lack even basic educational resources still excel academically. South Africa also has many high-quality private institutions, although not all families are able to afford these schools. With help from the international community, more South African students can reach their full academic potential.

Carrie Robinson

Photo: Flickr