Benin - Health

Most serious epidemic diseases have been brought under control by mobile health units and other facilities. Yaws has been almost totally eradicated in the northern part of the country. Sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis) has also been greatly reduced in the north and yellow fever has all but disappeared. Meningitis, once endemic in the north, now appears only sporadically and measures against tuberculosis have been intensified. In 1999, there were 266 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people. In 2002, 203 new cases of cholera were reported. As of 1999, malnutrition was prevalent in an estimated 25% of children under five years old. Access to safe water had improved to 63% by 2000 (between 1990 and 1995, only 20% had access to safe water), but only 23% of the population had adequate sanitation. Estimated average life expectancy in 2000 was 53 years, with an estimated death rate of 5 per 1,000 people in 2002.

As of 1999, there were an estimated 0.1 physician and 0.2 hospital beds per 1,000 people. As of 1999, total health care expenditure was estimated at 3.3% of GDP.

About 16% of married women (age 15 to 49) used contraception in 2000. The maternal mortality rate was estimated at 500 per 100,000 live births in 1998. The infant mortality rate in 1999 was 98 per 1,000 live births. The total fertility rate was 6.4 per woman in 1999. Nearly half of the women in Benin undergo female genital mutilation, which, as of 1996, no law prohibited.

At the end of 2001 the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 120,000 (including 3.6% of the adult population). HIV prevalence in 1999 was 0.89 per 100 adults. The government of Benin has set goals of expanding its health care system, upgrading the quality of first referral care, promoting private sector care, and improving public sector care.

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