Israeli Health Study Reveals High Life Expectancy Despite Shortages of Doctors and Infrastructure
JNS.org – A report released by the Israeli Ministry of Health that compares Israeli health care to that of the 33 other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries revealed that Israel’s average life expectancy is among the highest in the world. While the average OECD life expectancy is 80.8 years, the average Israeli lives 82.5 years, with women reaching an average of 84.2 years old and men 80.7.
Israel also enjoys the distinction of having the highest number of births in the entire OECD, with an average of 3.1 children per woman. The OECD average for the developed world is 1.7.
Israel also suffers fewer infant deaths than average, with 3.1 infant deaths per 1,000 as compared to the OECD average of 3.8.
Israelis came in second to last in suicides, with 4.1 per 100,000 people, as compared to the OECD average of 12.4. Only Turkey came in lower at two per 100,000, whereas South Korea topped the list at a staggering 26.5.
The report also revealed that Israel employs less than the OECD average of 3.3 doctors per 1,000 people, with a ratio of 3.1 per 1,000. Last year, that number was above the OECD average, and stood at 3.4 doctors per 1,000. In comparison, Austria has 5.1 doctors available per 1,000 people.
Israel employs just five nurses per 1,000 people, the fourth lowest position among OECD countries. Norway, by contrast employs 17.5 nurses per thousand.
Yet despite the low employment, Israel has a surplus of students seeking medical degrees. A 58.1 percent of Israeli medical graduates studied overseas, which many attribute to the small number of Israeli medical schools. The OECD average is 20.3 percent.
Israel has just 2.3 hospital beds per 1,000 people, below the OECD average of 3.6.
Serious overcrowding in Israeli hospitals became evident in the study, with 93.8 percent of hospital beds filled, compared to the OECD average of 75.5 percent.
Diagnostic machines were also found lacking in Israel, with just 4.9 MRI devices per million people, far below the average of 15.8, and much closer to last place country, Mexico (2.6) than first-place country, the United States (36.7).
Israel has only 9.7 CT scanners per million people, far below the OECD average of 24.7.
Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov addressed the report, saying that while Israeli health is very good, the infrastructure and resources for protecting or improving that health require attention.