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Healthcare in Chile


As of 1999, total healthcare expenditure was estimated at 5.9% of GDP. In 1995, the public health system included 187 hospitals, 230 urban outpatient clinics, 146 rural outpatient clinics, and over 1,000 rural health posts. The birth rate was an estimated 16 per 1,000 people as of 2002. Approximately 43% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception, according to a study made between 1980 and 1994.

Chile has made considerable progress in raising health standards: the crude death rate per 1,000 was reduced from 12 in 1960 to an estimated 5.6 as of 2002, and the infant mortality rate declined from 147 per 1,000 live births in 1948 to 9.12 in 2002. The maternal mortality rate was 20 per 1,000 live births in 1998. There were 26 reported cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people in 1999. Average life expectancy in 2000 was 76 years. In 1995, the leading causes of death per 100,000 were diseases of the circulatory system (150), cancer (116), injuries or accidents (64), and respiratory diseases (61).

In 1998, Chile had 17,467 physicians. About 600 doctors a year graduate from the country's 12 medical schools. As of 1999, there were an estimated 1.1 physicians and 2.7 hospital beds per 1,000 people. In the same year, there were 196 general hospitals in the public sector, as well as 526 primary care clinics and 1,840 rural outpatient clinics. There were 223 private-sector hospitals with 11,000 beds.

An estimated 15% of Chileans, including 10% of children under the age of five, fell below the minimum nutritional requirements established by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Protein deficiency among the general population has induced an abnormally high rate of congenital mental handicap. In 2000, 94% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 97% had adequate sanitation.

No polio or measles were reported as of 1994. As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 15,000 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 1,000. HIV prevalence was 0.19 per 100 adults. Altogether, 90% of the country's AIDS victims have been men and 10% have been women; the incidence among women is increasing.

Social Security

The social security programme in Uruguay is based on the principal of universality and as such embraces all the population. The underlying accepted cultural fact is the general understanding that the active members of the population should contribute towards and care for the inactive members of the population.

This programme encompasses family care, disability, unemployment, old age pensions and survivors. The two-tier system is made up of the underlying governmental social security programme with its universal reach managed by the BPS (Banco de Prevision Social), and a separate section consisting of individual pensions savings accounts held and managed by private entities known as AFAP (Administradoras de Fondos de Ahorro Previsional). This arrangement has worked extremely well in the five years that it has been operational.

The employee healthcare contribution of 3% per month will go towards his/her healthcare coverage provided by an approved provider or mutual referred to elsewhere in this report. By this mandatory payment the employee is strongly encouraged to enrol with one of the many mutual healthcare facilities or lose the 3% contribution. Additionally the employer has to pay an additional affiliation charge.

Contributions are made on a pay-as-you-go basis. In additions to retirement pensions, the basic social security contributions also finance sickness and maternity benefits, unemployment and family allowances. All payments are made to the social security system, which then channels payment to the private pension fund managers and healthcare providers.

The general public accept that the relatively high contributions levels are necessary in order to achieve the level of benefit desired.

Private Healthcare

Mutual associations and private medical schemes handle private healthcare in Uruguay. Over 50% of the population enjoy some form of privately managed healthcare.

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