Peru is a country in western South America, located just south of the Equator, bordering Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and the Pacific Ocean.

Population estimate (2019): 32,788,302

Capital City: Lima

Currency used: Peru Sol

Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 11,360

Time zone: GMT – 5

Population growth rate (2019): 1.17%

Total fertility rate per woman: 2.12

Languages: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara are the official languages in Peru, but around 150 indigenous languages are also spoken.

Key ethnic groups: 59.5% Mestizo (white and Amerindian ancestry), 22.7% Quechua, 2.7% Aymara, 1.8% Amazonian, 1.6% African ancestry, 4.9% white and 6.7% “other”. Furthermore it is estimated that there are 15 uncontacted Amerindian tribes in Peru.

Religion: 81.3% Roman Catholic, 12.5% Evangelical, 3.3% other and 2.9% no religious affiliation.

Literacy: 94.2%

Climate: Peru has three climatic zones; a desert region along the coast which has a mild climate with warm summers and cloudy winters; an Andean zone which is mostly cold; and the Amazonian forest in the east which has a hot and humid climate. In the capital city Lima, temperatures are mild during the winter (June to September) with highs around 18-20ºc. In the summer (December to April) it is usually sunny with temperatures around 26ºc.

Health statistics:

Life expectancy at birth (2016): 73/78 (male/female)

Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 154/94 (per 1000 population, 2016)

Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $656

Number of doctors per 1000 population (2012): 1.132

Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2012): 1.514

Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2015): 8.2 [6.4-10.8]

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2015): 68 [54-80]

Births attended by skilled health personnel (2014): 89.9%

Top 10 causes of death:

Influenza & pneumonia: 24,623 people / 16.78% of total

Coronary heart disease: 19,965 / 13.61

Stroke: 10,241 / 6.98%

Liver disease: 7,611 / 5.19%

Kidney disease: 7,364 / 5.02%

Alzheimers/Dementia: 6,958 / 4.74%

Diabetes mellitus: 5,269 / 3.59%

Lung disease: 4,757 / 3.24%

Violence: 4,757 / 3.12%

Road traffic accidents: 4,159 / 2.84%

Healthcare system

The healthcare system in Peru comprises a public and private sector. Under the public system, citizens receive healthcare coverage through the government-run “EsSalud”. The main focus of EsSalud is to provide primary care to as many people as possible. It covers maternal care, general and specialised healthcare, hospitalisation fees, laboratory analyses, medication, rehabilitation, prevention, vaccinations and dental care. According to the latest available data from 2014 there were 1,078 hospitals in the country, with 23% being located in the capital Lima. Despite recent investments, including from foreign agencies, the public health sector is still largely under-resourced, with shortages of supplies, equipment and staff, often resulting in very long waiting times and compromised standards. One of the biggest challenges to the system is lack of access to healthcare facilities in rural areas, although it is gradually improving with a rising number of Peruvians accessing healthcare. 

The private health sector in Peru is relatively small and largely concentrated in the capital. The standard of private facilities is generally a lot higher than that of public facilities, with more modern equipment, adequate supplies and well-trained staff. However, private services are very expensive, and therefore only utilised by Peruvians of high and middle classes, expats and foreigners. Several private health insurance options are available, and many of those also run their own hospitals.