Israel Ranks Fifth in Life Expectancy Among OECD Members

Ironically, Israel has one of the lowest places among OECD members when it comes to physical resources, infrastructure and expenditure devoted to medical care.

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A new report by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development reveals that Israel has one of the highest life expectancies among OECD members. Israelis live on average to the age of 81.6, two years longer than the average in other OECD member countries.

Israel has the fifth-longest life expectancy in the OECD, ahead of Sweden, Canada, France and Holland, for example.

The Fliman geriatric hospital in Haifa.Credit: Archive / Itzik Ben-Malki

But ironically, Israel has one of the lowest places among OECD members when it comes to physical resources, infrastructure and expenditure devoted to medical care.

For example, in 2009 Israel had 2 hospital beds per 1,000 people as opposed to the OECD average of 3.5 per 1,000. That means hospitals are overcrowded, which influences a host of other parameters.

In terms of medical expenditure, Israel is also low on the OECD list. In 2009, Israel spent 7.9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on medical needs compared to the OECD's 9.6 percent. The United States is first on the list, with 17.4 percent of its GDP going for medical expenditures.

In Israel, 58 percent of medical expenses were footed by a government source in 2009, as opposed to the OECD average of 72 percent in that year.

The report states that in 2009, women in Israel lived an average of 3.8 years longer than men, lower than the OECD average of 5 years.

With regard to infant mortality Israel is in relatively good shape: In 2009 it stood at 3.8 per 1,000 as opposed to an average of 4.4 among OECD members.

Survival rates have gone up for heart attack and stroke patients among OECD members, as well as for cancer patients, the result of greater awareness of early treatment and improvements in treatment.

Among OECD members, in 2009, 84 percent of women with breast cancer reached the five-year survival mark, while in 2002, the figure was only 79 percent. In Israel, five-year survival rates are even higher, rising from 80.5 percent in 2002 to 86 percent in 2008.

Israel's treatment of diabetes patients is also noteworthy. Among OECD members, 50 out of every 100,000 diabetes patients are hospitalized because of an imbalance. In Israel, that figure is only 7 out of 100,000 although the percentage of diabetes patients in the populations in Israel and other OECD members is similar - 6.5 percent.

The overcrowding in Israel's hospitals leads to another statistic in which Israel has a poor showing relative to other OECD countries: The average stay in an Israeli hospital is relatively low, at 4.5 days as opposed to 7.2 days in other OECD countries.

And the occupancy rate in Israeli hospitals is very high - 96.3 percent as opposed to the OECD average of 76 percent.

The number of MRIs and CTs in Israel is low compared to OECD countries, comparable to Mexico and Hungary.

Japan has the highest life expectancy among OECD member, 83, and Turkey has the lowest, 73.8. In the United States, life expectancy stands at 78.2.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: תוחלת החיים בישראל - במקום החמישי בעולם