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Israel is a Middle Eastern country on the Mediterranean Sea with a population of approximately 8.547 million people. According to the World Health Organization ([WHO], 2018), Israel ranks 28 out of 191 countries as far as efficiency and resources go. Israel has Universal Healthcare Coverage. WHO defines Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) as, “all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship” (WHO, 2018). This makes healthcare available to all citizens at a cost that will not break their bank. Israel is considered a developed country as far as healthcare goes; however, all countries’ healthcare systems have their strengths and weaknesses.
Environmental Risk Factors
Israel is considered a well developed country. Water scarcity has become one of the most severe environmental risk factors in Israel. Increases in industrial production mean a lack of clean water and more pollutants in the air for Israelians. (Siegel-Itzkovich, J. 2016). The air quality in Israel is also considered poor due to the increase in industrial buildings. The Jerusalem Post 2016stated, “A comprehensive new program for the management of air resources has been launched, which includes instituting emission standards and expanding the national air monitoring system” (Health problems, para. 5). Programs are very important to improving environmental risk factors. These risk factors are caused by mankind and have the potential to creating a major decline in these statistics.
Resources is what really sets developed and developing countries apart. Israel is a developed country; therefore, they have the money and resources to create a plan to help resolve these environmental risk factors. Those in developing countries aren’t as fortunate and have no money to help resolve their environmental risk factors. This is still considered a work in progress.
Health Risk Factors
The health problems in Israel are very comparable to those worldwide . Two-thirds of death in Israel precipitate from heart disease and cancer (Siegel-Itzkovich, J. 2016). Programs have been set in place to help a decline in these risk factors. Having these programs and making sure they are available to the public are crucial in preventing an increase in the statistics of these diseases. Heart disease and Cancer are extremely preventable by living a healthier lifestyle, and avoiding carcinogens that cause cancer.
Israel has been at war for many decades. Mental health has become an issue. Majority of the population has been exposed to war violence. Lakshminarayana with World Psychiatry 2006 stated, “A recent study found that 76.7% of subjects exposed to war-related trauma had at least one traumatic stress-related symptom, while 9.4% met the criteria for acute stress disorder.” (Impact of War on Mental Health Israel, para. 1) Over the past years funding towards mental health has become a priority. Mental health seems to go unnoticed in both developing and developed countries and has only recently had an increase in being addressed by health care providers.
Morbidity and Mortality
As Israel’s population and infrastructure continue to grow, mortality and morbidity statistics continue to improve and have deviated away from those characteristic of the Middle East and have swayed more towards that of other developed countries. As of 2017 Israel ranked fifth in the world for life expectancy, which was estimated to be 83 years (Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], 2018). In contrast, Monaco ranked first at 89 years; and at 85 years Japan, Singapore and Macau ranked second, third, and fourth respectively (CIA, 2018). In the Middle East, however, Israel stands out in stark contrast to their less developed neighbors; the CIA (2018) reports that Yemen only has a life expectancy of 66 years and Afghanistan only 52 years. As with most developed countries, Israel’s leading morbidities include cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes (Siegel-Itzkovich, 2017). In 2014, cancer ranked number one and accounted for 26% of Israeli deaths, and cardiovascular disease ranked number two at 16% (Siegel-Itzkovich, 2017).
Healthcare Access Disparities
Israel is a geographically diverse country that spans from the desolate southern Negev desert to the lush Galilee region which is on the northern border with Lebanon; located in the midwest region of the country are the more industrialized areas of Tel Aviv and Jaffa. The vast differences in geography are directly correlated to variations in socioeconomic status which in turn leads to some healthcare disparities. Colombo (2012) indicates that healthcare is most accessible in the central region where the population is higher, healthcare workers are more abundant, and the socioeconomic status is greater. The southern region has the greatest disparity due to a lower population, fewer healthcare workers and facilities, and a lower socioeconomic status (Colombo, 2012). A prime example of this is the infant mortality rate. The Ministry of Health (2010) reports that the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births is 6 in the southern region, 4.4 in the northern region and only 2.4 in the central region.
Health Care Related to Children and Elders
Israel is a country with a high fertility rate and a young population. “Primary pediatric care is provided mainly by board certified pediatricians through 4 HMOs. Emergency services as well as secondary and tertiary care are provided by 24 pediatric wards in 17 hospitals across Israel” (Tasher et al. , 2016). Unintentional injuries are the main cause of death among children at the first year of life. Preventive care is highly developed in Israel such as, routine vaccinations for children and it is provided by a network of governmental “Drop of Milk” clinics. According to Tasher et al. (2016) the indicators of pediatric health care in Israel are relatively high: immunization rates for measles are 96%, neonatal mortality and infant mortality rates are 2.2 and 3.1 per 1000 live birth. Higher mortality rates observed among Arab population, in all the child age groups, than among Jewish population. Even the county has a great developed medical services for children but there are still some services such as, mental and dental health care to children, need to be improved (Tasher et al. , 2016).
Healthcare quality of the Israeli elderly population has improved in the last decades. Growing elderly population of the Israel has a high life expectancy compared to international elderly population. “ In 2014, life expectancy at birth in Israel was 80.2 years for males, ranking in the top five countries with the highest life expectancy, and 84.1 for females” (Dwolatzky, Brodsky,Azaiza, Clarfield, & Litwin, 2017). Israel has higher quality care for the elderly population in all indicator, such as diabetes and obesity controle . The only problem that country has is uncontrolled benzodiazepine overuse among elderly. Overall, elderly population is receiving a good healthcare in Israel as it seen by has a low rate of institutionalization and “ only 3% of adults aged 65 or older live in long-term care institutions” (Dwolatzky, Brodsky,Azaiza, Clarfield, & Litwin, 2017).
Payment System of Healthcare
The Israeli Health Care System passed a national health insurance (NHI) law in 1995, which provides universal coverage. All citizens and permanent residents in Israel automatically covered by NHI. Soldiers receive health care directly from army. “NHI funded primarily through a special income-related health tax in combination with general government revenues, which in turn are funded primarily through progressive income-related sources such as income tax” (Rosen & Waitzberg, 2015). Also, private insurance is available in Israel for tourists or business travelers. There are some residents who do not have health insurance, including illegal immigrants who are not working. But, government made available several services that available for all individuals irrespective of their legal or insured stats. There services include: emergency care, preventive mother and child health care, treatment of tuberculosis, HIV/ AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (Rosen & Waitzberg, 2015). Residents can choose one of the four competing nonprofit health plans. “Government distributes the NHI budget among the plans primarily through a capitation formula that takes into account sex, age, and geographic distribution. The health plans are then responsible for ensuring that their members have access to the NHI benefit package, as determined by government” (Rosen & Waitzberg, 2015).
- Central Intelligence Agency. (2018). The world factbook. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
- Colombo, F. (2012). Tackling inequalities in health and health care in Israel. OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality – Israel. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.health.gov.il/UnitsOffice/HRS/economy/conventions/Documents/26112012_2.pdf
- Dwolatzky, T., Brodsky, J., Azaiza, F., Clarfield, A., & Litwin, H. (2017, January 24). Coming of age: health-care challenges of an ageing population in Israel. In PMC. Retrieved October 3, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985580/
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- Rosen, B., & Waitzberg, M. (2015). The Israeli Health Care System. In International Health Care System Profiles. Retrieved September 21, 2018, from https://international.commonwealthfund.org/countries/israel/
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- Siegel-Itzkovich, J. (2017, May 17). Israeli mortality rates lower than most, cancer leading cause of death. The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Health-and-Science/Israeli-mortality-rates-lower-than-most-cancer-leading-cause-of-death-492027
- Tasher, D., Rubin, L., Grossman, Z., Grotto, I., Dahan, D., Berlowitz, Y., & Somekh, E. (2016, October). Child health care in Israel. The journal of pediatrics, 177. Retrieved from https://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(16)30150-0/fulltext
- World Health Organization. (2018, February 29). Retrieved October 5, 2018, from http://www.who.int/countries/isr/en/
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