The Deadliest Diseases in Colombia

Even though it doesn’t receive as much attention as it should, Colombia’s hospital system is one of the largest in the region, with more than 2,550 hospitals, #3 after Mexico and Brazil. In addition, the country’s economy has solid prospects for growth: a projected increase in GDP of 3.2% in 2019 and 3.6% for 2020.

However, Colombia certainly has its fair share of challenges related to increasing death and disability rates tied to certain diseases. Here are the areas of concern when it comes to medical conditions in the country of Colombia, as reported by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Deadly Diseases

Some of the causes of death in Colombia are pretty consistent with others in the region, such as heart disease (21.6% increase in incidence from 2005 to 2016), COPD (23% increase from 2005 to 2016), kidney disease (37.2% increase from 2005 to 2016) and diabetes (16.4% increase from 2005 to 2016). But other issues are a bit unique, such as a 51.6% increase in death due to Alzheimer’s disease, according to IHME.

Colombia also has a number of positive trends when it comes to deaths that are related to conditions. For example, deaths related to violence, stroke, car crashes and lower respiratory infection are all down significantly since 2005.

Diseases That Cause Disability

Colombia’s list of top diseases that cause disabilities is also populated with many of the usual suspects in the region such as low back and neck pain, sensory organ disease and skin diseases. Of particular concerns are disabilities tied to diabetes, whose incidence jumped 52.9% between 2005 and 2007. This rate increase made diabetes jump from the ninth-highest cause of disabilities to seventh. Oral disorders also saw a substantial spike in this period, causing 34.7% more disabilities than in 2005.

Death & Disability Combined

When death and disability rates are combined, disease such as diabetes, sensory organ disease and low back and neck pain rose to the top as the highest risers over the past decade. Notably, several diseases showed significant declines in their death and disability rates, such as congenital defects, strokes, violence and car crashes, reports IHME.

Risks in Colombia Vs. Other Countries

When you stack Colombia up against other countries around the world, it actually looks relatively good. When it comes to causes of death around the world, Colombia has lower rates than the world averages for most medical conditions. Only violence leads to more deaths in Colombia than it does in other parts of the world (on average), and even that rate is declining in the country. As far as causes of disability are concerned, Colombia has higher rates of disability caused by violence, sensory organ disease, skin diseases and migraines than the world average rates, according to IHME.

How Hospitals Are Responding

Another bit of good news for Colombia’s health care comes in regard to their hospital and medical center investment in new equipment and technology. This is an area where clear and continued growth is occurring. According to our HospiScope database, from 2016 to 2017 Colombia’s hospitals showed:

  • A 44% growth in ultrasound machines
  • A 42% growth in X-ray machines
  • A 40% growth in electrocardiogram machines
  • A 37% growth in MRI machines

More Resources

Download our free 2018 HospiRank report on the best-equipped hospitals in Latin America to find out which are the best-equipped hospitals in Colombia in a variety of crucial sectors.

Next Steps

To explore about the opportunities for medical device/equipment and pharmaceutical manufacturers in Colombia, contact us for a demo of HospiScope — our LatAm hospitals database — and SurgiScope, the first database tracking surgical procedures done in Latin American hospitals.

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