Peru as a Country with High Mortality Rates

Introduction: Peru

Although Peru has higher than average life expectancy and death rates (about 6.1 deaths on 1,000 people), infant and child mortality are high. Thus, the infant mortality rate is 18.4 (“The world factbook,” 2017). Moreover, Peru has the highest mortality rate in children with upper respiratory infections, and this fact conditioned my choice of the country for the research within this paper.

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Located in Western South America between Ecuador and Chile, Peru is the country with an area of 1,285,2016 square kilometers (“The world factbook,” 2017). It borders Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, and Ecuador. Due to the border with the South Pacific Ocean, its climate changes from desert to tropical depending on the region.


The population of Peru was estimated at 31,036,656 people as of 2017 (“The world factbook,” 2017). The country is home to such ethnic groups as Amerindian (who make up 45% of the population), mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white, who make up 37%), white (15%), and black, Japanese, Chinese, and others who make up 3% of the population (“The world factbook,” 2017). The median age of Peruvian citizens is 28. The country observes the growth of a population of 0.95%.


The process of economic development in Peru that became particularly active in recent decades is accompanied by the establishment of democratic principles (Oxford Business Group, 2017). At present, Peru is a presidential republic. The country with capital in Lima consists of 25 regions. The country received its independence from Spain in 1821 and has been developing its civil law system since then. The government is traditional and consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches.


In the previous century, Peru was considered “a country scarred by economic and social upheaval” (Oxford Business Group, 2017, para. 1). However, in recent decades, Peru has been experiencing economic growth, which makes its economy as one of the fastest developing in Latin America. The growth of the Peruvian economy was an average of 5.6% per year in the period from 2009 to 2013 (“The world factbook,” 2017). Such an increase in the economy was empowered by high prices for minerals and metals exported by Peru internationally. Economic growth provided opportunities for the improvement of social spheres including healthcare. Thus, as of 2014, 5.5% of GDP was spent on health expenditures (“The world factbook,” 2017).

State of Health

Peru observes a very high degree of risk of infectious diseases. The most prevalent food or waterborne diseases include hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and bacterial diarrhea. Vector-borne diseases typical of the country are malaria, dengue fever, and Bartonellosis (“The world factbook,” 2017). The prevalence of obesity among the adult population in Peru is 19.7%, which is the 109th position in the world. HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is 0.3% as of 2016. 70,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Peru, and 2,200 died in 2012 (“The world factbook,” 2017).

Culture and Traditional Medicine

The culture of Peru is a blend of Hispanic and native customs and traditions. The major native Peruvian cultures, such as Quechua and Aymara, have their indigenous languages (“Peru Overview,” 2017). Cultural traditions are preserved in dress and cuisine. Peruvian ancient architecture is presented by stone temples and salons that are mainly located in Machu Picchu, the lost city. Also, a specific feature of Peruvian culture is its music, which is a mixture of drums and wind instruments rooting back to pre-Colombian impacts and gentle stringed instruments of Spanish origin.

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Traditional medicine is also an important aspect of Peru. Its roots go back to the traditions of Cupisnique culture (Bussmann, 2013). Traditional medicine is still popular and even economically significant in many countries. It can be explained by the lack of access to healthcare, in rural areas in particular. Thus, traditional and complementary-alternative medicine is widely used. In Peru, there is a National Program in Complementary Medicine that supports traditional treatment methods. The popularity of traditional medicine in Peru is probably conditioned by the great biodiversity of plants that make the basis for treatments (Bussmann, 2013). As of 2012, there was a database of 510 medicinal plants and 974 remedies of mixtures that are still developing.

Healthcare System and Delivery

Governmental health-related agencies and health regulatory organizations

In Peru, there is a decentralized health care system governed by five institutions. They are the Ministry of Health (MINSA); EsSalud; the Armed Forces (FFAA), National Police (PNP), and the private healthcare sector. MINSA is in charge of health services for 60% of the Peruvian population, EsSalud provides care for 30% of the population, and FFAA, PNP, and private sector together provide services to the other 10% of the population in Peru (World Health Organization, 2017). On the whole, the healthcare system comprises multiple organizations that provide health services and insurance. These organizations are frequently performing overlapping functions that are poorly coordinated. It results in many health workers occupied in several jobs simultaneously.

Healthcare personnel and hospitals

The country has been observing a tendency in an increase in the general number of healthcare professionals. However, growth in health worker outmigration that was observed simultaneously did not let it influence the difference in HRH densities. An increase was only observed in nursing (World Health Organization, 2017). Moreover, there is a growing demand for providers in general and medical specialists in particular. It is partially conditioned by the introduction of universal health insurance. As of 2017, there were 1.12 physicians per 1,000 people in Peru (“The world factbook,” 2017). No distinct information was found concerning the total number of physicians in the country.

Still, the average medical staff of a hospital includes 19 doctors, 15 nurses, and one intern (“Peru,” 2017). The same situation is about several beds in the hospital because no exact statistics are found on the issue. The healthcare infrastructure of Peru includes 883 hospitals (“Peru,” 2017). Out of these 883, only 9% of hospitals have more than 100 beds, and 12% have 50-99 beds. The majority of hospitals (79%) are small and can place only less than 50 patients. The average number of beds per hospital is 14 (“Peru,” 2017). The density is 1.5 beds per 1,000 people (“The world factbook,” 2017). On the whole, it should be mentioned that the geographic distribution of health workers and healthcare facilities is typical of Peru. Thus, areas closer to the coast are better provided with healthcare professionals while distant districts are in constant need of quality medical service.

The nursing education system and accrediting organizations

One of the major institutions involved in the preparation of nurses is the Professional School of Nursing of the National University of San Marcos (“Professional School of Nursing,” 2017). The School has achieved significant academic development that has enabled it to receive International Accreditation of the International Network of Assessors of the Union of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2011 and the National Accreditation in 2016. Its major mission is to prepare competent professionals, leaders, and researchers with thorough preparation and who will be ready for nursing practice. There is also a course in nursing at Augusta University dedicated to global health nursing. Peruvian students also go abroad to obtain a nursing diploma. Moreover, international internship programs are provided for those students who want to work in the conditions of a local healthcare facility.

Nursing associations

There is one accredited nursing association in Peru, Federación de Enfermeros de Peru. It officially represents and defends the Nursing profession; ensures that the practice of the profession and the life of nursing institutions are developed by the doctrine and with the norms contained in the Statute and Regulation, and in the Code of Ethics and Deontology; and promotes the social function of nurses that are to serve the individual, family, and community (CEP, 2015). Moreover, the association contributes to the competitive development of the nursing profession and encourages the scientific production of nurses. Finally, it participates in projects, plans, and programs in cooperation with state agencies, and national and foreign institutions in research studies and other health-related initiatives. Moreover, Peru is a member of the International Council of Nurses. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) unites over 130 national nurse associations. These associations present interests of more than 20 million nurses all over the world. The major goal of ICN is to ensure quality nursing care. Also, it encourages the development of nursing knowledge and respect for the nursing profession.

Health Priorities

The major health priorities for Peru are as follows. First of all, it is necessary to provide the growth of quality and availability of healthcare. It can be achieved by finding additional resources, including financial ones, to enhance the distribution of healthcare service. This priority also includes the provision of equal access to health care for all citizens. Another priority is related to industry and demands for the reduction of contamination as a result of heavy metal clearance, which also includes the provision of safe water for the citizens living in the areas with heavy industry. Another priority is the reduction of infant mortality rates that are high in Peru. Also, since Peru has the highest mortality rate in children with upper respiratory infections, it is important to develop strategies for its early detection and treatment. Finally, Peru demands the development of nursing education because the country needs healthcare professionals.

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Conclusion: Nursing Implications

Nurses as active participants of the healthcare process can significantly contribute to the improvement of healthcare in Peru. First of all, they can provide patient education to teach the inhabitants of the contaminated areas the principles of safe living. Another education intervention is to work with school graduates to stimulate them to choose nursing as a career to improve the situation with healthcare professionals. Moreover, practicing nurses can contribute to the reduction of childhood mortality rates by giving more attention to the health of children, particularly children under five who are at greater risk. On the whole, nursing implications in the context of Peru and its healthcare system can be beneficial. Still, governmental support both at national and local levels is necessary to improve the situation in the country.


Bussmann, R. (2013). The globalization of traditional medicine in Northern Peru: From shamanism to molecules. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 1-46. Web.

CEP. (2015). Qué hacemos. Web.

Oxford Business Group. (2017). Peru 2017. Country profile. Web.

Peru overview. (2017). Web.

Peru. (2017). Web.

Professional School of Nursing. (2017). Web.

The world factbook. South America: Peru. (2017). Web.

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World Health Organization. (2017). Peru. Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Peru as a Country with High Mortality Rates." June 7, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Peru as a Country with High Mortality Rates'. 7 June.

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