Healthcare in Bolivia

Healthcare in Bolivia
Considered as one of the lowest among the Western Hemisphere countries, Bolivia’s healthcare system proves to be poor and struggling. According to the World Health Organization, Bolivia ranked 126th out of 190 countries all over the world when it comes to the quality of healthcare.


As of the moment, Bolivia’s healthcare system is being reformed with the help of international organizations like the World Bank. Among the topmost priorities of the country’s healthcare system reform include expanding immunization, administering basic health care to more children and women, and resolving prevalent medical issues in the country, such as diarrhea and tuberculosis.


The number of people in Bolivia without social health protection is approximately 5,948,264 – with only 1.2 doctors per 1,000 Bolivians. Furthermore, the ratio of hospital beds to patients is only 1.1 per 1,000, making health care in Bolivia a problematic situation. 


Those who live in the rural areas of the country are deprived of sufficient medical services as well as proper sanitation, which makes them vulnerable to dominant diseases in the country like Chagas disease and malaria. According to statistics, only 20% of the Bolivian rural population have access to safe water and sanitation. Malnutrition in Bolivia is also a common health issue, with 23% of the population believed to be afflicted by it.


Several of the small communities in Bolivia lack health centers, and patients who seek medical help often die during long rides in the back of trucks. Most of the time, Bolivian public hospitals do not have medically advanced equipment to cater to patients and are ill-equipped to handle medical emergencies.


 This is caused by insufficient funds of the government to provide resources for medical supplies. Meanwhile, private clinics and hospitals have top-of-the-line medical equipment, but the costs are almost always expensive and cannot be afforded by most Bolivians – except the few wealthy ones.


Health services in major Bolivian cities are mostly adequate to handle routine medical problems, but in terms of quality, it varies a great deal. Rural areas, on the other hand, are mostly left to themselves as decent medical services are scarce.