The Role of the Service Sector in Brazil, Mexico and the USA
Chapter 7: Health Care
INTRODUCTION Health care' is a major social service in Brazil, Mexico and the USA, representing 3 per cent of employment in the former two countries, and 7 per cent in the USA in 1996. The growth of the health care sector has been largely financed by public funds. From 1955 to 1990 public expenditure on health care as a share of GDP has grown sevenfold in Brazil, tenfold in Mexico and fivefold in the USA.2 Together with improved nutrition, water supply, sewerage and other socio-economic conditions, better health care has contributed greatly to the improvement of health conditions in the three countries in 1950-96 (see Table 7.1). The mortality rate of children under five years old has declined in all three countries, although the decline in Brazil and Mexico was much steeper than in the USA. Life expectancy at birth was higher in the USA than in Brazil and Mexico, but the gaps have narrowed in the course of time. The percentage of Mexican babies with a low birth weight was more than twice the Brazilian and the US percentages in 1990. The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) increased in Mexico. The USA initially experienced a decline in the incidence of TB, after the initiation of anti-TB measures in 1953. However, TB rates began to climb in the late 1980s and have reached epidemic proportions in some populations. Public health officials link this alarming increase to ADIS and poverty. The prevalence of tuberculosis in Brazil was half the Mexican rate in...
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