Dominican Republic is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. The country occupies ⅔ of the island, while Haiti occupies the remaining ⅓. It is the second largest and most diverse country in the Caribbean with a rich cultural heritage and beautiful scenery.
Population estimate (2019): 10,976,182
Capital City: Santo Domingo
Currency used: Dominican Republic Peso
Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 11,150
Time zone: GMT – 4
Population growth rate (2019): 1.20%
Total fertility rate per woman: 2.29
Languages: The official language is Spanish
Key ethnic groups: Approximately 73% of the population is racially mixed, 16% White and 11% Black.
Religion: 95% Roman Catholic and the remaining 5% “other religions”.
Climate: The Dominican Republic has a hot and tropical climate all year round, with some regional variation. In the capital, average temperatures range between 25 and 28ºc, and the rainy season is from May to November. On the touristically popular east coast, the rainy season is from June to November, and the most popular period is from December to March. In January the average high and low temperatures are is 29ºc and 27ºc, respectively.
Life expectancy at birth (2016): 71/77 (male/female)
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 202/117 (per 1000 population, 2016)
Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $580
Number of doctors per 1000 population (2011): 1.49
Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2011): 1.33
Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2015): 21.7 [16.8-29.6]
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2015): 92 [77-111]
Births attended by skilled health personnel (2014): 97.7%
Top 10 causes of death:
Coronary heart disease: 11,460 people / 19.85% of total
Stroke: 6,150 / 10.65%
Violence: 3,179 / 5.51%
HIV/AIDS: 3,144 / 5.45%
Road traffic accidents: 2,928 / 5.07%
Influenza & pneumonia: 2,317 / 4.01%
Diabetes mellitus: 2,271 / 3.93%
Prostate cancer: 2,063 / 3.57%
Kidney disease: 1,827 / 3.16%
Low birth weight: 1,814 / 3.14%
The healthcare system in the Dominican Republic consists of a public and a private sector. The public sector has three distinct tiers; a subsidised regime, a contributive regime and a contributive subsidised regime. The subsidised regime is government-funded and provides coverage for the poor, unemployed, people with disabilities and indigent people; the contributive regime is financed by employers and their workers; and the contributive subsidised regime is financed by self-employed and independent workers, and subsidised by the government. Public hospitals are available in all large towns. While treatment is usually free, patients often have to pay for certain services like x-rays, stitches and receiving medication. The standard of care can generally be classified as mediocre. Inpatients have to provide their own sheets, pillows, toilet paper, food and so on. It is often expected that relatives assist with this. It is rare that staff can speak English at these facilities. There are also larger “world class” hospitals located in the two biggest cities of Santiago and Santo Domingo. These hospitals have a combination of public and private facilities; the services offered are not free of charge, but they do take medical insurances. The standard is very high with modern equipment and highly skilled staff, and often more complicated surgeries and procedures are carried out at these hospitals. Some of the staff may speak English but not necessarily all.
Private hospitals are widely available, with around 3-5 clinics located in most towns. They offer a higher standard of care than public hospitals, but often they are not able to carry out very complex procedures. Tourist hospitals are another type of private hospitals; these are located in tourist areas and offer high standards and have English-speaking staff. Services offered include intensive care and surgery, as well as minor treatments. They are more expensive than other private hospitals, but the standard is not as high as that offered at the larger hospitals in Santiago and Santo Domingo.