Dominican Republic - Health

In 2000, average life expectancy was 67 years; in the same year the infant mortality rate was 39 per 1,000 live births. As of 2002, overall mortality was estimated at 4.7 per 1,000 people. As of 1998, studies indicated that 64% of women with partners (ages 15 to 49) used contraception.

Modern aqueducts, drainage systems, and garbage disposal plants have been constructed in the principal cities. The National Water Supply and Sewerage Institute was established in 1962 and the National Rural Water Service was formed in 1964. In 2000, an estimated 79% of the population had access to safe water, compared with 37% in 1970, and 71% had adequate sanitation. In 2000, however, approximately 11% of children under five years of age were considered to be malnourished and as of 1999, 14% of all births were low birth weight. As access to health care has improved, so has the under-five mortality rate, which in 1996 was 56; in 1980 it was 94. As of 1998, tuberculosis accounted for 15% of all deaths from communicable diseases. In 1999, there were 135 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people.

In 1997, the country immunized children up to one year of age against tuberculosis, 88%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 80%; polio, 81%; and measles, 47%. Major causes of death between 1990 and 1994 were: communicable diseases (27 per 100,000), malignant neoplasms (28 per 100,000), and injuries (30 per 100,000). As of 1999 total health care expenditure was estimated at 4.8% of GDP. Between 1985 and 1995, statistics indicate that 80% of the population had access to health care services. As of 1999, there were an estimated 2.2 physicians and 1.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people. In 2000, there were a total of 15,679 physicians, 2,603 nurses, and 7,000 dentists. As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 130,000 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 4,900. HIV prevalence was 2.8 per 100 adults. In 1998, 3.7% of all deaths were from AIDS; in 2000, 2.4% of the population of reproductive age were estimated to be HIV-positive.

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