Health in Chile - Statistics & Facts

With a total population of more than 18 million people, Chile is one of the largest economies in Latin America. The country has the second highest gross domestic product per capita in the region, following Uruguay. Possibly as a result of the economic prosperity it has experienced in the last decade, Chile has also one of the highest per capita expenditures on health in the region, amounting to nearly 2,000 U.S. dollars per person in 2017. Spending in health has represented more than eight percent of the country’s GDP since 2015.

Despite the relatively high expenditures on health, only 30 percent of Chileans considered the quality of healthcare they received as good, according to a recent survey. It was also found that over 60 percent of the population believed Chile’s healthcare system was overstretched and could not provide the same standard of care to everyone. Chilean respondents were also critical about the waiting times to get a doctor’s appointment, which were considered too long by nearly 80 percent of the people surveyed.

Prevalence of long-standing health conditions or illnesses among adults in Chile was one of the highest amongst South American countries, reaching 35 percent of the adult population in 2018. The Andean country is also one of the leaders in the region in terms of overweight and obesity rates. The percentage of population considered obese in Chile has shown continuous growth over the last decade, reaching nearly 35 percent in 2016.

Although the Chilean healthcare system faces many challenges, there is reason for optimism. The number of licensed physicians in the country has increased consistently over recent years, and the number of licensed nurses has tripled since 2010. This is significant, as doctors and healthcare professionals are the main source of information regarding diseases, symptoms and treatments, according to Chilean respondents. In terms of medical staff density, the Chilean health system had an average of 19 doctors and 12 nurses per hospital as of 2016.

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