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Health at a Glance 2019

OECD Indicators

image of Health at a Glance 2019

Health at a Glance compares key indicators for population health and health system performance across OECD members, candidate and partner countries. It highlights how countries differ in terms of the health status and health-seeking behaviour of their citizens; access to and quality of health care; and the resources available for health. Analysis is based on the latest comparable data across 80 indicators, with data coming from official national statistics, unless otherwise stated.

Alongside indicator-by-indicator analysis, an overview chapter summarises the comparative performance of countries and major trends, including how much health spending is associated with staffing, access, quality and health outcomes. This edition also includes a special focus on patient-reported outcomes and experiences, with a thematic chapter on measuring what matters for people-centred health systems.

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Caesarean sections

Caesarean sections can be a lifesaving and necessary procedure. Nonetheless, caesarean delivery continues to result in increased maternal mortality, maternal and infant morbidity, and increased complications for subsequent deliveries. This raises concerns over the growing rates of caesarean sections performed across OECD countries since 2000, in particular among women at low risk of a complicated birth who have their first baby by caesarean section for non-medical reasons. The World Health Organization concludes that caesarean sections are effective in saving maternal and infant lives, but that caesarean section rates higher than 10% are not associated with reductions in maternal and newborn mortality rates at the population level. Nevertheless, caesarean sections should be provided based on need, rather than striving to achieve a specific rate.

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