Health indicators advancing at high pace. Improvement in maternal, infant, under-five mortality, and life expectancy

Health indicators
advancing at high pace
Improvement in maternal, infant,

under-five mortality, and life expectancy

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Life expectancy in Lebanon at birth has improved, reaching 76.5 years in 2016, up from 75 years in 2015, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The improvements in health indicators are due to new treatments and techniques integrated into the health system,” said Sleiman Haroun, Chairman of the Syndicate of Private Hospitals. But, according to Haroun, these treatments and techniques are not cheap for patients.

The under-five mortality rate was 8.5 per 1,000 live births in the same period compared to nine in 2013, according to the latest data issued by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). Infant mortality was 6.4 per 1,000 live births compared to eight. Maternal mortality was 13.6 per 100,000 live births in the same period compared to 18 in 2013.

“The indicators are also improving at a higher pace. This is due to the primary health care centers that are spread in all regions,” Haroun said. Easier access to hospitals equipped for pre-mature births helped improve the country’s health indicators, Haroun said.

There were 223 primary health care centers in 2018, up from 186 centers in 2013, according to MoPH. The number of private hospitals reached 125 with a total capacity of 10,500 beds, up from 120 private hospitals in 2016. The number of hospital beds increases to 12,000 when public hospitals are included. There are three hospital beds for every 1,000 citizens, which is “within international norms,” according to Haroun.

There was a slight dip in the number of physicians for every 10,000 citizens, dropping from 31.9 physicians in 2013 to 31 in 2016 physicians. Still, this is well above the WHO’s recommendation of eight physicians for every 10,000 citizens. The number of dentists per 10,000 citizens jumped from 12.6 in 2013 to 15 in 2016, and the number of pharmacists grew from 16.8 to 18 during the same period. “The shortage is in the number of nurses,” said Haroun.

Total per capita health expenditures jumped from $700 in 2012 to $987 in 2014, according to the WHO.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Aug 24, 2018