The Dominican Republic The measure of an individual’s health

The Dominican Republic

The measure of an individual’s health
cannot be entirely based upon their genetic make-up. To gain a better understanding
of how separate influences impact a person’s health, one can look at specific
demographics, or statistical data about a population (Skolnik, 2012). When
studying global health, it is important to look at the demographics of a given
region or country to recognize trends to better prepare for the demands and
issues of a population (Bollyky, 2017). This paper will create a demographic
profile of the Dominican Republic that will provide an accurate insight of the
country’s overall health status by highlighting major health indicators,
disease burden, population size, and socioeconomic data. Additionally,
explanation will be provided regarding the Dominican Republic’s health priorities
and the status of their Millennium Development Goals.

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Health Indicators

To identify the health status of the
Dominican Republic is it necessary to understand the leading health indicators,
including: life expectancy at birth, infant mortality rate, maternal
mortality ratio, neonatal mortality rate, and under-5 mortality rate
(Skolniks, 2012).

Regarding the Dominican Republic, according
to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average life expectancy at birth
for a male is 71 years and for a female is 77 years, compared to a male born in
the United States, 79 years, and a female, 81 years (WHO, 2018). A low life
expectancy in less developed countries is reflective of the nation’s socioeconomic
development. Out of 1000 births, it is likely 31 infants will die and out of
100,000 births 92 mothers will die (Index Mundi, 2017). In this region, the
leading cause of maternal death was caused by “hemorrhage, hypertensive
disorders, and obstructed labor”, all procedures that are preventable and can
be easily corrected (WHO, 2018). These high numbers reflect the nation’s poor
health status and low socioeconomic development.  As of 2015, the probability of a child dying
under the age of five in the Dominican Republic is 31/1,000 (Index Mundi,
2017). Lastly, the morality rate of fetuses in the womb is 52/1000 pregnancies,
this reflects the availability and quality of healthcare in the Dominican
Republic. (WHO, 2018). The health indicators are heavily influenced by the
nations socioeconomic data which can be measured by the level of urbanization,
industrialization, education, and accessibility to health care, quality water,
and food.  


The Dominican Republic has the biggest economy
in the Caribbean and Central American region and has experienced firm economic
growth in the most recent years, with poverty decreasing from “42.2 percent in
2012 to 30.5 percent in 2016”. However, compared to other nations their social
spending is low. Health expenditures decreased from 5.2 in 1995 to 4.4 percent
in 2014 (Index Mundi,2017) and only 1.49 doctors to 1,000 people (Index
Mundi,2017). These components are responsible for the complex health care system
of the Dominican Republic and mostly affect children under the poverty line. Approximately
80.6 percent of the total population lives in urban areas where drinking water
has improved 85.4 percent and access to sanitation facilities has improved 86.2
percent. (Index Mundi, 2017). The socioeconomic status of the nation is largely
connected to the burden of disease. Unfortunately, the risk of catching a major
infectious disease in the Dominican Republic is high. Leading food or
waterborne diseases include typhoid fever, bacterial diarrhea, and hepatitis A
(Index Mundi, 2017). There is approximately 67,000 people living with HIV or
AIDS that lead to approximately 2,200 deaths per year (WHO, 2018). The prominent
cause of harm in the Dominican Republic are “cardiovascular diseases, cancer,
and diabetes” (Index Mundi, 2017). The larger the divide between the rich and
poor communities, the larger the difference in health and accessibility to
health care. Additionally, the low education levels are directly related to
poor health and the nation has a GDP of 2.1% in education (Index Mundi, 2017).


The Dominican Republic health care system
is made up of a private sector and a public sector. According to the CDC, the nation
has three disease impact goals: HIV prevention, reduction in tuberculosis, and
the reduction of “infectious disease outbreaks” (CDC, 2017). To achieve these
goals, the CDC has planned a series of initiatives that will increase detection,
create more accessibility to care, and increase the “retention of people living
with HIV to reduce morality and HIV transmission” (CDC, 2017).

Additionally, in 1990 the Dominican
Republic created Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals included: eliminating
acute poverty and hunger, obtain universal primary education, promote gender
equality and women empowerment, decrease child death, increase maternal health,
decrease disease, provide a sustainable environment, and create global
partnership (Index Mundi, 2007). The nation targeted by 2015 to eliminate
extreme poverty and hunger by decreasing the portion of the population whose “income
is less than one dollar a day” and decrease the number of people suffering from
hunger (Index Mundi, 2007). To achieve their second goal of achieving universal
primary education, by 2015 all children will be able to “complete a full course
of primary schooling” (Index Mundi, 2007). To achieve gender equality and women
empowerment, the nation sought to eradicate gender differences in education and
that all levels of education would be rid of gender discrimination (Index
Mundi, 2007). By promoting contraceptive use to females and males, the
Dominican Republic planned to reverse the spread of HIV and aids (Index Mundi,
2007). Plus, the investment in tuberculosis treatment, detection, and
prevention methods will reverse the occurrence of the disease. Their seventh
goal, ensuring environmental sustainability, will be achieved by creating
awareness through policies and programs, decreasing the number of people
without access to drinking water, and decreasing the slum population. Lastly,
global partnership is attained by addressing needs with other countries,
dealing with debt problems, and connect with developing countries (Index Mundi,
2007). These goals were planned to be achieved by 2015, despite progress, there
is still a significant amount of social investment that is needed.


            Unfortunately, superior genes will
only get an individual so far. Where a person is born, the demographics, and the
socioeconomic status of the nation will largely impact their health. This paper
explained the overall health status and provided a demographic profile of the
Dominican Republic by discussing the leading health indicators, socioeconomic
measures, and health priorities and goals. The Dominican Republic continues to take
steps toward improving national health.


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