St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Health

As of 1998, Kingstown's general hospital, with 209 beds, was the country's only government-run acute care hospital. There were five rural hospitals, including one located on the east coast of St. Vincent, the second on the west coast, and the third on Bequia. There are also hospitals for the aged and a 120-bed Mental Health Center. Approximately 38 outpatient clinics provide medical care to nine health districts throughout the nation. In 1990 there were an estimated 2.7 hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants. There were 0.9 physicians, 2.4 nurses, and 0.05 dentists per 1,000 people in 1997. In 2000 there were a total of 89 doctors, 398 nurses, and 5 dentists. Estimated per capita health care expenditures were us$125 million in 1995.

The fertility rate in 1994 was 2.4 children per woman. Gastrointestinal diseases continue to be a problem, although they are less so than in the past. In 1996-1999, circulatory system diseases accounted for about 42% of all deaths, cancer for 16%, and external causes for 6.7%. There were an average of seven new cases of tuberculosis each year from 1992 to 1995. The immunization rates for a child under one were as follows: diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus, 99%, measles, 99%, polio, 99%, and tuberculosis, 98%.

As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 17.5 and 6.1 per 1,000 people. Infant mortality in 2002 was estimated at 16 per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth was 72.8 years. In 1995, there were six new AIDS cases reported.

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