Variance in Medical Infrastructure by Country

The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on technology. 10% of a country’s technology score (2% of the overall Country Similarity Index score) is allocated for the country’s medical infrastructure. The following are the aspects that were included in the calculation:

Physicians per Capita

Cuba has the most doctors with 8 per 1,000 people, although it is an outlier since the other top countries are mostly located in Eastern Europe. Countries with socialist governments tend to have more, since they often make healthcare a priority. These countries also tend to have older populations. Many Sub-Saharan African countries have very few doctors, since they are poor. They also have far fewer elderly people. A few countries have less than 1 per 10,000 people, including Somalia, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

The World Health Organization is the main source of the data:
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.MED.PHYS.ZS?most_recent_value_desc=true

Countries were grouped into the following categories by physicians per 1,000 people:
0-.5, .5-1, 1-2, 2-4, 4-8

Hospital Beds per Capita

North Korea, South Korea, and Japan are the three countries with the most hospital capacity per person. Like doctors per capita, Eastern Europe is another area where their countries have many hospital beds per capita. Countries in the Sahel, including Mali, Niger, and Guinea, have the fewest hospital beds, with less than 4 per 10,000 people.

The World Health Organization is the main source of the data:
https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/indicators/indicator-details/GHO/hospital-beds-(per-10-000-population)

Countries were grouped into the following categories by hospital beds per 10,000 people:
0-10, 10-20, 20-40, 40-80, 80-160

Access to Basic Healthcare

The percentage of people with access to basic healthcare correlates with how wealthy a country is. The Japanese have the highest access, but the people in many prosperous European countries also have over 90% access. On the other end of the spectrum, less than 50% of people in Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, and Somalia have access to basic healthcare.

World Mapper is the main source of the data:
http://chartsbin.com/view/41517

Countries were categorized by the percentage of people with access to basic healthcare:
44-54%, 54-64%, 64-74%, 74-84%, 84-94%

Healthcare Expenditure per Capita

Some countries spend far more money on healthcare than others. Like access to basic healthcare, this also tends to correlate with how wealthy a country is. The Democratic Republic of Congo spends the least per person, while the United States spends the most money, in fact over 500 times more than the Democratic Republic of Congo. Administrative costs are high, doctors get paid more, and drugs are expensive since the US government does not negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, unlike most countries with government-run healthcare systems. Switzerland is the only other country that spends a comparable amount. Like the United States, it also mandates its people to buy heath insurance.

The CIA Factbook is the primary source of the data:
https://knoema.com/atlas/maps/Health-expenditure-per-capita

Countries were categorized by US dollars spent per capita per year:
$0-500, $500-1000, $1000-2000, $2000-4000, $4000-8000, $8,000-12000

Healthcare Infrastructure

The Federation of American Scientists rated countries based on how well developed their healthcare system is. Yet again, this highly correlates with how wealthy a country is. Western Europe has the most countries that rate as highly developed, while Africa has many countries with the least developed healthcare infrastructures.

The Federation of American Scientists is the main source of the data:
https://fas.org/irp/threat/752049.gif

Countries were categorized by their level of healthcare infrastructure:
Highly developed, Developed, Developing, Less developed, Least developed

Obviously there is no one clear way to determine how similar one country is to another. How would you quantify how similar one country is to another?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

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