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Top 20 in Healthcare: Ecuador’s health system is among the World’s best

Ecuador news magazine – Quito, September 9 (Andes).- Ecuador has one of the world’s best health systems; Bloomberg’s database established that the efficiency of Ecuador’s health system is in the 20th slot worldwide, surpassed in South America only by Chile, which is in slot 13.

The changes in Ecuador’s social development during the 2007-2012 period were strong. In 2006 social investment was USD $1,934 million, while the projection for 2013 is nearly USD $7,000 million, primarily earmarked for the health sector.

Data from the Ministry of Public Health (“MSP”) report that in 2006 16 million instances of medical assistance were recorded, while in 2012 there were 38 million instances of medical attention and mortality of minors under one year of age due to diarrhea went from 27.5% in 2007 to 8% in 2011.

Likewise, in terms of accountability of the social sector, the data presented highlighted that currently there are approximately 140 hospitals in the Public Health Network, 22 new hospitals are under construction and 24 are being remodeled. Health planning also includes 950 health centers nationwide, with a standard of 2 beds per thousand (1,000) residents.

In the field of professionalization, the Minister of Health, Carina Vance, has highlighted that nearly 600,000 scholarships were created and 17,000 health professionals received salary improvements. Until March, 2013, the MSP recorded 288 professionals who came back to the country under the plan Ecuador Saludable, Vuelvo por ti (Healthy Ecuador, I Come Back For You). Besides, 2,400 Ecuadorian and foreign physicians who worked around the world signed up for this program.

Until 2011, Ecuadorian health professionals earned a salary between USD $855 and USD $1,590. The implementation of diverse public policies allowed physicians in Ecuador to improve their living conditions and aspire a salary between USD $2,034 and USD $2,641, plus all legal benefits, reaching remunerations of up to USD $3,900.

There is also a remuneration change for nurses, from USD $986 to USD $2,034, plus benefits under the law.

Hospitals in the Public Health Network are equipped with cutting edge technology to deliver services in outpatient modality, specialized and surgical clinics, emergency and triage, hospitalization, intensive care unit, neonatology, diagnostics support services, imaging, and other services such as endoscopy, colonoscopy, bronchoscopy and colposcopy.

Ecuador continues preparing policies that allow further reduction in maternal and infant mortality and eradicate endemic diseases, as well as promote prevention axis in NCDs, such as hypertension, cancer, heart disease and diabetes; improve the attention quality in catastrophic diseases such as HIV- AIDS, and strengthen access to quality health services in terms of sexual and reproductive health.

Bloomberg’s Best and Worst database notes that Ecuador’s health system exceeds in efficiency the systems from Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru and the United States – the latter country among the last in the ranking.