Israel’s health care inequality crisis hits U.S. hospitals, patients
Israel has emerged as the most unequal country in the world for dental care, as it ranks near the bottom in the global index for dental inequality, according to data from the Global Dental Health Institute.
Israel has suffered from an epidemic of cavities and dental caries in recent years.
The country ranks 77th out of 180 countries in the index.
According to the International Organization for Migration, the rate of dental carie in Israel is four times the global average.
“We have not had the same levels of investment in dental care as in other developed countries, with a high level of private sector involvement,” said Sarah D. Shaul, an IOM associate director for health policy.
Israel has been struggling with an acute crisis of tooth decay and tooth loss.
The IOM and the International Dental Association (IDA) have warned that the global epidemic is a global crisis and that a lack of dental care will lead to an increased risk of tooth erosion and cavities.
A 2009 report by the IOM, commissioned by Israel’s Ministry of Health and the Israel Ministry of Industry and Science, warned that over 2 million Israeli adults were waiting longer than three months for dental treatment.
It cited a study by the World Health Organization that found that an average of 4 million Israelis were waiting more than two years for dental work.
At least 3 million Israeli children are waiting more to have their first teeth extracted.
Israel’s National Public Health Council, the body responsible for administering health care in the country, has warned that it is unable to cope with the crisis and is on track to have its health care system in the worst shape in the Western world by 2020.
The World Health Association, which includes nations that lack universal health care and services, has urged Israel to take immediate steps to improve its health infrastructure, including implementing universal health coverage and ensuring access to preventive services.
The United Nations Population Fund has warned of an impending “disease pandemic” due to an increase in tooth decay in the developing world.
In a report released last year, the IHHA said Israel had a particularly high rate of caries and tooth abscesses, and that the country ranked at the bottom of the index for access to routine dental care.
More than half of the IHEI’s data on health care income comes from the World Bank and OECD.
The World Bank estimates that Israel contributes more than $1 billion in gross national product to the global economy.
The OECD has been instrumental in raising awareness of dental inequities in the region.
In 2011, the organization’s World Economic Forum presented a report entitled “Dental Poverty and its Economic Impact: How Israel’s Dentistry System is a Growing Global Issue.”
In the report, the World Economic Council argued that “Dentists are working at the margins of society in some parts of the world, which is not surprising given the relatively poor access to dental care.”
The IHEH, meanwhile, has called for the United Nations to establish a dental health and economic program that would target the poorest nations in the continent and raise access to health care services.