Overview of the Exclusion of Social Protection in Health in Latin America and the Caribbean

Estimating the magnitude of exclusion in healthcare in Latin America and the Caribbean

A large percentage of the population of the Latin America and Caribbean region is excluded from social protection in health and thus does not have adequate access to health services. Not only is this an injustice, it poses an obstacle to the economic and social development of the countries in the region.

This paper seeks to provides an estimate of the magnitude of exclusion in its different forms and a description of the principal social, economic, and cultural characteristics of the excluded groups. Overall the paper concludes that:

  • About 217.8 million people are without social security coverage and their medical care needs and a large majority depend on mechanisms that finance supply within the public sector;
  • Around 121 milion people live below the poverty line and are unable to obtain access to different levels of the health services;
  • Based on the fact that 17 percent of births were not attended by trained staff, it has been estimated that more than 83.6 million people are excluded from access to health care;
  • About152.7 million people are without access to drinking water and/or sewerage systems.

Finally, the paper recommends that the study of the excluded population continue into the following areas:

  • Existing inequalities within each country in terms of the characteristics of supply and demand in the different regions;
  • Scope of exclusion in each population group and specific alternatives to be implemented based on the gender, age, ethnic, work-related, and residential parameters;
  • Characteristics of supply in the health system, broken down by levels of care, with respect to barriers to access at each of these levels.