The comments on my recent post about the Millennium Challenge Account spun off into questions about El Salvador's health care system. These questions are important as Mauricio Funes comes into office saying he is going to increase the amount of spending on healthcare, particularly for the poor and alter the way healthcare resources are distributed. To assist in the discussion, here are some of the most recent statistics from the World Health Organization:
|Statistic||El Salvador||Americas Avg.|
|% children dying before age 5||2.4%||1.9%|
|Maternal mortality per 100,000||170||99|
|Access to improved drinking water||84%||94%|
|Access to improved sanitation||86%||87%|
Life expectancy in El Salvador:
1990 - 58 years for men, 69 years for women
2000 - 67 years for men, 74 years for women
2007 - 68 years for men, 75 years for women
In 2007, the average life expectancy for men in the Americas was 73 years and 78 for women.
Health expenditures in El Salvador were 6.0% of gross domestic product in 2006, for which 61.8% was from government spending and 38.2% from private sources.
El Salvador generally measured better than other countries in Central America on these health measures, other than Costa Rica. El Salvador was generally lower on the statistics than both Cuba and the United States.
I do have one unanswered question about these statistics. The reports lists El Salvador's population as 6.8 million, when the population reported by the 2008 census was less than 6 million. Using a smaller population as a denominator would cause many of these statistics to look worse.