Emerging markets (EM) are evolving their healthcare systems. After years of neglect, EM governments are now under strain as greying populations and growing affluence conspire to increase the cost and complexity of healthcare provision.
Hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are on the rise as lifestyles become more sedentary and diets include more meat and sugar.
Meanwhile, the percentage of people 65 years or older in EM has doubled since 1980 to 10%, and will likely reach 15% by 2030, according to the UN. Older populations entail higher costs. In the EU, public healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP averages 15% per capita on those 66 and older, compared to just 5% for 20–65 year olds.
Despite the growing similarity between the healthcare challenges faced by EMs and more developed markets (DMs), EMs spend less than half what DMs do on healthcare as a share of GDP. There are just 3.4 hospital beds per 1,000 citizens on average in EMs versus 9.5 in DMs, according to the World Bank.