Colombia focused on strengthening healthcare services
According to a report published by OECD, “OECD Review of Health Systems: Colombia”, Colombia has reformed a lot over the last two decades leading to a rise in life expectancy and a fall in infant mortality. Infant mortality has reduced from 40 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1970 to 12.8 and life expectancy at birth reached 75.2 years in 2013. The report states that almost every Colombian now has access to healthcare, with coverage nearly quadrupling from 23.5% of the population in 1993 to 96.6% in 2014. Health insurance coverage expanded the fastest among the poorest 20% of the population (from 4% in 1993 to 89%) and in rural areas (from 6.6% in 1993 to 92.6%). Out-of-pocket disbursement paid by patients has remained only 14% of the total health expenditure, which is one of the lowest in Latin America and is lesser than the OECD average of 19%. Colombia now needs to focus on improving quality, efficiency and sustainability. The report also suggests that health insurers in the country have not yet emerged as effective and efficient buyers of healthcare services. Payments to doctors, clinics and hospitals should increasingly reward healthcare quality and better results, rather than volumes of health service provided. The development of a reformed information system will help Colombia improve in health system quality and efficiency.