With environmental factors taking a greater toll on public health, health services across the world’s cities are having to keep up with increased illness and accidents among growing population by tailoring and investing in services for both preventative care and disease treatment. Developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Health Safety Index is part of the encompassing Safe Cities Index, designed to analyze health safety input and outputs, to rank cities’ preparedness to deal with public health issues.
Looking at Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Jakarta, Istanbul, Kuwait City, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York, Santiago, Seoul, Stockholm, Taipei, Tehran and Tokyo, we look at which of the global cities provide best health safety for their urban residents. For the purpose of this analysis, health safety inputs refer to: environmental policies, access to healthcare, number of hospital beds per 1000 residents, number of doctors per 1000 residents, access to safe and quality food and quality of health services. Meanwhile, the outputs measured are: air quality, water quality, life expectancy, infant mortality (deaths per 1,000 live births) and cancer mortality (cancer deaths per 100,000).
From our graphs, it’s clear that, for the most part, cities are reaping what they sow, as health inputs correlate with health outputs, showing a positive relation between citizen health and health infrastructure. One city stands apart, however. Taipei is the only one of the 17 cities analyzed here where health inputs exceed health outputs, largely due to the city’s high number of doctors which juxtapose against its relatively poor air and water quality. Meanwhile, New York leads the way in terms of overall health safety thanks to its low infant and cancer mortality rate and high life expectancy, though its health inputs, namely number of hospital beds and doctors per 1000 residents, leave something to be desired. Istanbul ranks lowest in terms of overall health safety in our analysis, owing largely to its low scores on health inputs, especially hospital beds and doctors per 1000 residents.
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