Human resource density and inequality in health care spending in the Americas

Guerrero Núñez


To determine the existence of inequality and gradient in out-of-pocket expenses, public spending and private spending, among countries from the Americas stratified according to their human resources for
health (HRH) density.


Analytical and transversal study of health inequalities for out-of-pocket spending (percentage of total health spending), public spending and private spending (percentage of GDP), applying the human resource density (medicine and nursing) as a stratifier. Based on data from the Pan American Health Organization and the World Bank, 32 countries from the Americas were categorized according to their density, and weighted rates, descriptors, differences, correlations, and simple and complex indicators of inequality were calculated.


There is high variability in HRH density (3.8 to 171.3; mean 43.97, SD 37.08) with significant differences
between high and low density categories. The first quartile concentrates 9% of the population and 4.45% of the HRH; the first 3 quartiles concentrate 48.4% of the population and 17% of the HRH. The stratification showed a gradient and inequalities in expenditure indicators, higher in the out-of-pocket expenditure, with which the HRH density presented a negative correlation.


HRH density shows high variability among countries and categorized groups; it is unevenly concentrated in the population, and is greater in countries with higher public spending. As a stratifier of the sample, it showed inequalities and gradients in health spending; the strata with lower density showed higher out-of-pocket spending, lower public spending and higher private spending.

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