Table of Contents

  • Health at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean 2020 compares key indicators for population health and health systems across the 33 LAC countries. It builds on the format used in other editions of Health at a Glance, including the versions for the OECD member and partner countries, and the regional editions for Asia-Pacific and Europe. It presents comparable data on health status and its determinants, health care resources and activities, health expenditure and financing, and health care quality, along with selected health inequality indicators.

  • While writing the first edition of Health at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean, very few of us could have imagined that a pandemic would have exposed the world to the worst health emergency in a century, with massive human, economic and social costs. The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region was hit by the epidemic a few weeks later than Europe, with the first cases of COVID‑19 registered in Brazil by the end of February 2020. Since then, it has spread to all countries in the region, with the highest number of cases reported in Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Chile at the moment of writing.

  • Health at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean 2020 presents key indicators, collected before the onset of COVID‑19 crisis, on health and health systems in 33 Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) countries, including on equity, health status, determinants of health, health care resources and utilisation, health expenditure and financing, and quality of care.

  • Health at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean 2020 is divided into seven chapters:

  • This chapter uses Universal Health Coverage as the basis to analyse a core set of indicators on health, health systems and inequalities in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. Country dashboards shed light on how LAC countries compare amongst themselves and with the OECD, across five dimensions: population health, coverage and services, financial protection, quality of care, and health inequalities. This overview provides a first glimpse on the overall situation of LAC countries and establishes linkages and dependencies between the indicators that the full report contains.

  • Mobilising additional resources for health financing in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is necessary to achieve high-quality universal health coverage. However, LAC countries must balance investments in their health systems with other needs in a context of limited public funding and competing priorities. This chapter focuses on the importance of reducing wasteful expenditures particularly in the areas of clinical care, operational and governance waste, as a way to accelerate the path towards universal health coverage. Addressing waste in health systems entails reviewing structures, regulations, services and processes that are either harmful or do not deliver expected benefits, as well as costs that could be avoided by substituting cheaper alternatives with comparable or superior benefits. Policy-makers and managers in LAC should consider such waste-reduction initiatives as tools at their disposal to build higher quality and more sustainable health systems. In the LAC region, spending better on health is as important as spending more. Without cutting budgets and even in a scenario of increasing government health expenditure, being more efficient and achieving better results for more people can be a self-reinforcing strategy, if properly designed so as to be synergic.