Argentina is the second largest country in South America, occupying most of the southern part of the continent. It is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay in the north, by Brazil and Uruguay in the north east, the South Atlantic Ocean in the east and by Chile and the Andes mountain range in the west.

Population estimate (2019): 44,945,427

Capital City: Buenos Aires

Currency used: Argentina Peso

Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 20,700

Time zone: GMT – 3

Population growth rate (2019): 0.92%

Total fertility rate per woman: 2.26

Languages: The official language in Argentina is Spanish. Italian is the second most spoken language as a native language. At least 40 other indigenous and foreign languages are spoken in the country.

Key ethnic groups: It is estimated that more than 55% of Argentines have Italian origins. Other most common ethnic origins are Spanish, French and German. There are also fairly large Arab and Asian populations, as well as immigrants from neighbouring countries.

Religion: 92% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant, 2% Jewish and 4% “other”.

Literacy: 98.1%

Climate: Argentina stretches over several diverse climatic regions. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed in comparison with Europe (and other countries located in the Northern Hemisphere). The north of Argentina has an almost tropical climate, while the region containing Buenos Aires and the Pampas has a temperate climate, further south in the Patagonia region the climate is generally cold and windy, and finally the southernmost part has a cold and snowy sub-polar climate. In the subtropical most northern region it is hot and humid in the summer, warm in winter, and rainfall occurs all year round. Central Argentina has a moderate climate with hot summers and colder, dry winters. The Andes and Patagonia have cool summers and very cold winters.

Health statistics:

Life expectancy at birth (2016): 74/80 (male/female)

Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 143/80 (per 1000 population, 2016)

Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $1,137

Number of doctors per 1000 population (2013): 3.907

Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2013): 4.212

Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2016): 6.2 [5.8-6.7]

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2015): 52 [44-63]

Births attended by skilled health personnel (2014): 99.6%

Top 10 causes of death:

Coronary heart disease: 60,064 people / 20.83% of total

Influenza & pneumonia: 29,797 / 10.33%

Stroke: 24,604 / 8.53%

Lung disease: 16,731 / 5.80%

Lung cancers: 11,180 / 3.88%

Kidney disease: 10,965 / 3.80%

Alzheimers/Dementia:10,834 / 3.76%

Diabetes mellitus: 10,371 / 3.60%

Colon-Rectum Cancers: 8,502 / 2.95%

Liver disease: 7,321 / 2.54%

Healthcare system

The healthcare system in Argentina comprises a public, private and social security sector. Due to the country’s federal structure, the health system is is very segmented; each of Argentina’s 23 provinces is independently responsible for healthcare delivery, financing and management.

The public sector comprises a network of public hospitals and health centres under the national and provincial health ministries. These facilities offer free medical care to those who need it the most; namely those with lower income who don’t have social security coverage or are unable to afford treatment (approximately 36% of the population). Outpatient and inpatient care is free, however, outpatients are charged for medication. Generally, the standard is fairly basic, but medical professionals are well-trained. There is a much higher availability of medical facilities in the bigger cities and urban areas. Regional disparities due to large variations in economic development between the regions is a major problem in the country.

The social security sector is administered by trade unions. It consists of around 300 social plans, through which employees and employers pay a fixed amount. The plans cover various proportions of treatment costs; the patient pays the difference between the fixed fee paid and the actual cost of the treatment. The latest estimate indicated that 45% of the population was covered by these plans, however, it is now thought that this number has fallen due to rising unemployment rates.

The private sector comprises private practitioners and facilities, these serve approximately 5% of the population. Private facilities and professionals usually require immediate cash for their services. Facilities in the private sector tend to be very well-equipped with highly skilled staff.