Public health

(Image by SajoR) [CC BY-SA 2.5], from Wikimedia Commons

Colombia has universal healthcare, but resources are low compared to developed countries. Corruption is draining the system and limiting development.

Life expectancy at birth

Colombians’ life expectancy at birth has historically been higher than the global average, but lower than that of the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially after increased violence in the 1980s.

Source: World Bank

Access to healthcare

While more and more Colombians have been registered for health insurance, according to surveys by the country’s statistics agency, this has not resulted in people effectively having more access to health care.

Source: Ministry of Health and Social Protection / DANE

Healthcare coverage by province

Colombia’s healthcare coverage depends per region where the coverage depends on regional providers. This leads to atypical disparities.

Source: Ministry of Health and Social Protection

Maternal mortality rate (per 100,000 births)

While the global maternal mortality rate has been dropping slowly since 1990, according to the World Bank, that of Colombia has been stable. The country has yet to deliver data from after 2011.

Child mortality rate (per 1000 births)

Colombia’s child mortality rate has been considerably lower than the global average, but has been dropping less fast.

Source: World Bank

Healthcare spending

Today, Colombia spends around 7% of its GDP on health care. This figure has made a mild recovery since spending plummeted in 1999 against the backdrop of a financial recession and an escalating internal armed conflict.

Source: World Health Organization


Non-transmissible diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes, account for over 50% of deaths in Colombia.

Source: Global Burden of Disease Study 2017

Obesity prevalence

Almost 60% of adults in Colombia are obese.

Source: World Health Organization Global Health Observatory

Alcohol addiction

Chronic alcohol dependence affects nearly 900,000 Colombians, predominantly men.

Source: Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network

Deaths from tobacco use

In Colombia, 11.5% of cancer deaths in 2016 were the result of direct tobacco use. This figure fell by 3% over a decade.

Source: Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 (GBD 2016)

Air pollution

In 2015, 22 in 100,000 deaths in Colombia were the result of toxic air; the same amount since 1990. Over a decade, the number of deaths caused by ozone inhalation doubled. However, fewer die from inhaling smoke while burning fossil fuels inside the home.

Source: IHME, GBD 2016

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