Evolution of health indicators in the Dominican Republic

Data from the 2013 Dominican Republic Demographic and Health Survey (ENDESA) shows that infant mortality in the five year period 2008-2013 was 27 deaths per one thousand successful births, above the year prior to the survey, 2007, when it was 32 per thousand. The results of this survey reflect the continued decline of infant mortality  in the past few decades. However, these levels continue to be above those of other countries in  Latin America and Caribbean, which have similar economic conditions as the Dominican Republic. Neonatal mortality, at 21 per thousand according to ENDESA 2013, has remained stable in the last few decades, at around 21 to 23 per thousand.  

Meanwhile, 99 percent of registered births in the survey took place in a health establishment (72% in public hospitals and 27 % in private clinics). Additionally, between 2007 and 2013, an increase in births by gynecologists/obstetricians took place, from 71 percent in 2007 to 77 percent in the year 2013.   

The survey also registered that 56 percent of births occurring between 2007 and 2013 were through C-sections, indicating that the performance of that operation had increased by 14 percentage points in relation to what was observed in 2007 (42%). These indicators make the Dominican Republic a country with one of the highest rates of births by C-section in the world.  

In terms of the health of boys and girls in the Dominican Republic, five percent of those younger than five years suffer from chronic malnutrition and two percent suffer from stunted growth, according to the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).   

With regard to the prevention of HIV, less than one percent of people between the ages of 15 and 49 have tested positive for HIV, with .9 percent for men and .7 percent among women. In the last 12 years, the national rate of seroprevalence has remained relatively stationary, with a slight downward trend.  

With respect to the prevalence of chronic diseases, in the last decade the most significant issues have been high blood pressure (affecting 10 percent of the population) and diabetes (three percent of the population).  

Meanwhile, the ENDESA shows that 55 percent of the total population is covered by health insurance, practically double the registered amount in 2007 (27 percent). Women, 58 percent of whom are insured, are more likely to possess insurance than men (51 percent), while those in urban areas (56 percent covered) are more likely to be insured than those living in rural areas (50 percent insured).  

National Health Insurance (SENASA) covers 52 percent of people with health insurance in the Dominican Republic. In 2007 those that participated in SENASA was only 20 percent of those insured.   

Main Health Sector Indicators  

Indicator  Value 
Gross birth rate, estimated (1,000 hab.) (2013)  20.60 
Gross rate of mortality, registered in Civil Offices (1,000 hab) (2013)  2.9 
Gross rate of mortality, estimated (1,000 hab.) (2010-2015)  6.31 
Rate of infant mortality, registered according to the surveillance system (1,000) (2013)  16.5 
Rate of infant mortality, estimated (1,000) (2013)  25.1 
Rate of maternal mortality, according to Certificate of Death (100,000 ) (2011)  97.3 
Rate of maternal mortality, according to the surveillance system  (100,000) (2013)  91.3 
Rate of maternal mortality, adjusted by subregistry of SINAVE (100,000) (2012)  109.7 
Global fertility rate for women (2013)  2.54 
Life expectancy upon birth; total (2013) (years)  72.3 
Life expectancy upon birth, women (2013) (year)  74.8 
Life expectancy upon birth, men (2013) (year)  70.0 
Public Expense on Health (% Government Social Expense) (2013)  31.4 
Public Expense on Health (% General Government Expense) (2013)  13.9 
Health Expense (% PIB) (2013)  2.8 


Centers of Social Studies and Demographics and Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (2014). “2013 Dominican Republic Demographic Survey and Health”. 

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