Sunday, 21 March 2010
According to the previous figure published recently in an interesting overview "Health at a Glance 2009" by OECD, Portugal is not doing so bad in terms of life expectancy, a common proxy for health status, considering the little it spends per capita. The problem is that Portugal is not spending that little, it spends 9.9 % of its GDP as the next figure shows.
Although this report is mainly descriptive, it provides relevant statistics on outcomes of health care (although at points the data from Portugal is either not reported or from previous periods, it is intriguing why it is so). Portugal does well in many important health indicators such as infant and newborn mortality (not in the report). Nonetheless, some of the health outcomes in the report were surprising to me. For example, Portugal is amongst the countries with the highest number of cesarean deliveries (reaching 31% of live births) and the lowest number of nurses per capita (usually an indicator of good quality of health care). More surprising was the following picture regarding the mortality rates after a stroke where the data shows that it doubles that of the OECD. Moreover, there seems to be no recent data on this important outcome.
With this post I do not want to send a negative message about the Portuguese health system, although there is probably room for improvement, instead I would like to call attention for importance on data on outcomes and the need to make this data available for research.
Posted by Matilde Pinto Machado at 23:03