Across the Commonwealth, access to hospital beds, as measured by the number of beds available per thousand people in a country’s population, has been in decline, according to the latest data available.

The Commonwealth average for hospital beds-to-population ratio stood at 2.73 beds per 1,000 people in 2010, compared to the world average of 2.70, reflecting a drop of nearly 26 per cent in bed capacity when compared with the Commonwealth average in the year 2000. The average for all the regions of the Commonwealth was below the World Health Organisation’s recommendation for every country to have a minimum five beds per 1,000 people.

With an average of less than 0.90 hospital beds per 1,000 thousand people, Bangladesh, Belize, Gambia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Tanzania were the Commonwealth countries with the lowest capacity to offer in-patient treatment over the 10-year period tracked in this data set.