Israeli life expectancy: 81.8 for women, 77.6 for men

While Israeli life expectancy continues to grow, national expenditure on health is shrinking, from 8.6 percent of the GDP in 2002 to 8.3% in 2004. Compared to a decade ago, the chance of a citizen landing up in a psychiatric hospital has been halved, with many more patients treated in community facilities. These are only some of the health-related statistics released by the Health Ministry in its fifth statistical report, Health in Israel 2005, released for publication on Sunday. The 300-page volume in Hebrew and English, produced by department of health information director Ziona Haklai and her team, shows that the average life expectancy for women is 81.8 years and for men 77.6, compared to 80 and 76.3 respectively in 1996. Jewish (and other non-Arab) women live to an average of 82.2 and men to 78.1, compared to 80.3 and 76.6 respectively in 1996. Arab women and men live shorter lives on average - 78.2 and 74.9 respectively, compared to 77.2 and 75.1 in 1996. The national death rate is declining, from 6 per 1,000 in 2000 to 5.5 in 2004. Infant mortality is declining, and the higher the mother's educational level, the lower the chances of her baby dying. There are more low-birthweight live births (8.35% under 2.5 kilos) compared to 7.99% a decade ago, largely because of the increase in multiple births resulting from fertility treatment. A total of 4.5% of all live births are of twins, triplets or more. The leading causes of death for men are: (in this order) cancer, heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, kidney disease, influenza and pneumonia and septicemia; and for women, heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, accidents, chronic lower respiratory diseases, kidney disease, influence and pneumonia, septicemia and intentional self harm. As for medical personnel, there are 36,000 general physicians and specialists, 7,500 dentists, 4,600 pharmacists and 28,500 registered nurses. The number of inpatient beds in general medicine has declined from 2.285 per 1,000 residents in 1997 to 2.095 in 2004. In psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care, the number has increased from 5.974 to 6.058 today. Addiction facilities have increased from 421 to 741 beds today. In an average year, women make 7.97 visits to a doctor and 3.1 visits to a dentist, while men make 6.19 visits to a doctor and 2.12 visits to a dentist. The number of emergency department visits was 2.45 million in 2002 (the latest figure available). The number of autopsies has declined from 4.3% of all deaths in 1997 to 3.5% in 2002. The Clalit Health Services' share of medical coverage for residents continues to decline, comprising 55% at the end of 2003 compared to 62% at the end of 1995; Maccabi Health Services serve 24% of residents (compared to 20% in 1997); while Meuhedet has grown from 9% to 11%; and Leumit remains stable at 10%. However, Clalit continues to insure nearly three-quarters of all those over 65. Beyond the mandatory health tax, average out-of-pocket expenditures for health are increasing, and they constitute 5% of average family income, compared to 3.8% in 1997. A third of this is for dental care, a fifth for supplementary health insurance, a fifth for medications and a quarter for various health services and other expenditures.
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