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Ireland places 13th in global healthcare system ranking


The lowest-ranked nation was Central African Republic at 29; its highest treatment score was for diphtheria at 65.

Neither Canada nor Japan cracked the top 10, and the United States finished a dismal 35th, according to a much anticipated ranking of healthcare quality in 195 countries, released Friday.

Researchers used data from a Healthcare Access and Quality Index‚ which collects information on deaths from 32 causes that could be avoided by timely and effective medical treatment.

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Scores were based on estimates from the annual Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors study (GBD), a systematic, scientific effort to quantify the magnitude of health loss from all major diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and population.

The Swiss health care system is regularly ranked highly in global surveys, but comes in for criticism over the cost (for which it is also ranked highly in global surveys).

The United States placed 35 and the United Kingdom 30. Those in more-remote areas in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean scored poorly.

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Virtually all countries improved over that period, but many - especially in Africa and Oceania - fell further behind others in providing basic care for their citizens. As with many other nations, the U.S. scored 100 in treating common vaccine-preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, tetanus, and measles. But the country did not score as well in preventing deaths from Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and lower respiratory infections.

Among nations with more than a million souls, top honours for 2015 went to Switzerland, followed by Sweden and Norway, though the healthcare gold standard remains tiny Andorra, a postage stamp of a country nestled between Spain (No. 8) and France (No. 15). Nonetheless, many countries in these regions, including China (score: 74) and Ethiopia (score: 44), have seen sizeable gains since 1990.

If every country had reached the maximum HAQ for their level of development, the average result would have been 73.8 in 2015, 20 points higher than what was actually achieved, "a clear indicator of untapped potential for healthcare improvement worldwide", said the study.

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Established in 2007, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research center within UW Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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