Oman ranks first in a survey of national health systems of 191 countries with Britain and the United States far behind, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal on Friday, August 10.
The survey by the World Health Organization measured the life expectancy in these countries against the amount of resources spent per head of population, between 1993 and 1997. Oman came first while several European nations such as Italy (third), France (fourth) and Spain (sixth) made the first ten. Britain ranked 24th, while the United States was 72nd.
Oman's top position is due to the reduction of child mortality from 318 to 18 per 1,000 births in the last 40 years. The authors of the report conceded that countries hampered by civil unrest or a high prevalence of HIV and AIDS received an artificially low ranking because the effects on average life expectancy were so striking.
The survey concluded that countries with the best levels of health do not always have efficient health systems and that efficiency is related to the funds spent on health care. Increasing the resources for health systems is critical to improving health in poor countries, but important gains can be made in most countries by using existing resources more efficiently.
After Oman, the top ranking countries were Malta, Italy, France, San Marino, Spain, Andorra, Jamaica, Japan and Saudi Arabia. At the bottom of the list was Zimbabwe, which ranked 191st, below South Africa which ranked 182nd. ― (AFP, London)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )