Saint Lucia
Official Name: Saint Lucia
Capital City: Castries
Official Language: English
Surface: 238,616 km 2
PAHO Subregion: Non-Latin Caribbean
UN 2 digits Code: LC
UN 3 digits Code: LCA
UN Country Code: 662


PAHO Basic Health Indicator Data Base

This is a multidimensional query tool that offers a collection of 108 indicators from 1995 to 2005. The system presents data and indicators on:
- demography
- socioeconomic
- mortality by cause indicators
- morbidity and risk factors
- access, resources and health services coverage.

Selected indicators are disaggregated into age groups, sex and/or urban/rural region. Generated tables can be exported and printed.

The data presented is updated annually with the latest country information.


    St. Lucia , with a total land area of 238, 616 km2 is an island of the Caribbean. The majority of the population inhabit the coastal areas and the less mountainous regions of the north and south. It has a democratic system of government similar to the Westminster model. St. Lucia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations , the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Although the official language is English, a French patois is commonly used, particularly among the rural population. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion. According to the 1991 census 86 % of the population is of African descent, 2.6% are of East Indian descent and 9.6% are of mixed ancestry.

    The population of St. Lucia was estimated at 153,819 in 1999. The annual growth rate between 1980 and 1999 was 1.8%. Population is concentrated in the northern districts. About 39% live in the district of Castries, where the capital city of Castries is located. The tourism and residential infrastructure of the northern district of Gros Islet have developed significantly over the past decade, resulting in continuous internal immigration. The establishment of industrial complexes in the district of Vieux Fort in the south has impacted upon the geographic redistribution of the population. A good network of roads link most communities and villages to the main urban centers. Females account for 51% of the total population, with women of child-bearing age (15-44 years) representing just over 25%. About 32 % of the total population is below 15 years of age while the elderly (60 years or older) only account for 7.9%. Persons in the economically productive ages (15-64 years) comprise 62% of the total population. The dependency ratio for 1999 was 62%. Between 1992-1995 and 1996-1999, live births fell from 14,741 to 12,842 and the crude birth rate dropped from 26 to 21 per 1,000 population. With respect to high risk pregnancies, live births delivered by females 10-14 years were 2,049 (16%), while live births delivered by women 35 years or older were 1,536 (12%), 1996-1999. The general fertility rate was 85 per 1,000 females aged 15-44 and the total fertility rate 2.4 per woman, 1995-1999. Life expectancy at birth increased by two years for males (from 67 to 69 years) and for females (from 72 to 74 years) between 1996-1999. The 1991 census data suggests a net migration of 1,500 persons per year for the 1980 to 1991 period with a further decline of about 560 per year noted between 1992 to 1998.

    St. Lucia grew steadily during the early 1990s. GDP increased by an average 3.2% between 1988-1991, and by 3.9% for 1992-1995, grew by only 2.2% 1996-1999. Per capita GDP was $ US 2,785 in 1999. The last National Literacy Survey (which was conducted in 1990 and only included persons 15-65 years) found that 54 % of the sample was literate, 27% illiterate and 19 % functionally illiterate. Illiteracy was highest in the rural areas. About 70% of the illiterate population were females. Males comprised 53% of employed population in the first half of 1999.

    Total deaths were 3,837 and the crude death rate was 6.4 per 1,000 population, 1996-1999. Diseases of the circulatory system were the principal cause of death (38%). Neoplasms and external causes represented 16% and 9%. External causes of death are more than three times greater for males than females; 1996-1999.The number of deaths was higher for males for most broad causes.

    Analysis by population group
    Children (1-4 years): En 1996-1999 there were 50 deaths among children 1-4 years of age: deaths from congenital anomalies (10), accidents (9), intestinal infectious diseases (6).

    Schoolchildren (5-9 years): There were 31 deaths among children 5-9 years of age, 1996-1999. Among these 11 deaths were from accidents.

    Adolescents (10-14 and 15-19 years): There were 27 deaths for adolescents 10-14 years of age, 1996-1999. Among these 10 deaths were from accidents of which 7 were male. The number of deaths of adolescents 15-19 years of age was 47, 1996-1999. In this group accidents contributed 21 deaths of which 20 were male and 50% of male deaths were due to Land transport accidents. Seven deaths among all adolescents were due to accidental drowning, 1996-1999.

    Adults (20-59 years): Deaths to adults was 975, 1996-1999. The 3 leading causes of death 1996-1999 were malignant neoplasms (197) or 20% and accidents and adverse effects (125) and heart disease (120), where the last two disease groups each contributed around 12% of adult deaths. Male deaths were 593: accidents (101), malignant neoplasms (86) and heart disease (70). Female deaths were 382: malignant neoplasms (111), heart diseases (50), and cerebrovascular disease (26) contributed 29%, 13% and 7%.

    Elderly (60 years and older): Deaths to adults 60 years of age and older was 2524: heart disease (731) malignant neoplasms (553), 1996-1999. Among males, heart disease, malignant neoplasms and cerebrovascular diseases contributed 372, 309 and 220 deaths. Among females, heart disease, malignant neoplasms and cerebrovascular disease contributed 359, 244 and 233 deaths. Formal and informal social security systems are available to the elderly. Many older persons are unable to access the health services due to geographical location and/or transportation problems. Community Health Aides visit elderly persons in their homes and communities on a regular basis.

    Workers' health: The Occupational Health and Safety Unit is responsible for monitoring the health of workers in St. Lucia . Injuries accounted for 71 % of all claims submitted, trauma or fracture on the job (11%), and burns (3%). The National Insurance System covers about 60% of all workers.

    The disabled: The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) provides services to approximately 10,000 persons with disabilities.

    Analysis by type of health problem
    Natural disasters: The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) is responsible for disaster preparedness. In 2000, The Disaster Preparedness and Response Act legalized the actions of NEMO. Saint Lucia is a member state of The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), an inter-governmental regional disaster management organization established by CARICOM. Hurricane Lenny struck in November 1999, causing an estimated at US $6.3 million damage.

    Vector-borne diseases: No cases of yellow fever, malaria [imported] (3) schistosomiasis (59), were reported, 1996-1999.

    Diseases preventable by immunization: Immunizations given to children under 5 years of age are: diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus (DPT vaccine), poliomyelitis (OPV vaccine) measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine), and tuberculosis (BCG vaccine). No cases or deaths were reported for these diseases among children under 5 years of age, 1996-1999. Vaccination coverage rates between 88 % and 100% of children under 1 year were maintained, 1990-1999, and there were no reported cases of vaccine preventable diseases.

    Intestinal infectious diseases: No cases of cholera, cases of typhoid fever (3), salmonellosis (16) and shigellosis (70) as well as 5,969 cases of diarrhea were reported, 1996-1999.

    Chronic communicable diseases: Tuberculosis TB increased from 82 to 93 between 1992-1995 and 1996-1999. Part of this increase in cases is attributable to better reporting since 1999. The M:Fratio was 1.7:1 in 1996-1999. Pulmonary cases comprised all cases in 1992-1995 and 92% of all cases for 1996-1999. The number of deaths have varied from 27, 1992-1995 to 13, from 1996-1999.

    Leprosy: Cases of leprosy were 37, 1996-1999.

    Acute respiratory infections: A total of 629 cases of influenza, 20% of all reported cases of ARIs, were reported among children under 5 years of age, 1996-1999. In addition, ARIs were responsible for 80 deaths, where pneumonia accounted for 79, 1996-1999.

    Zoonoses: No cases or deaths from rabies have been reported in St. Lucia for the past two decades. Cases of leptospirosis were 40, 1996-1999. It is noted that an active surveillance system for monitoring leptospirosis and other communicable diseases was implemented in 1996, while two deaths from leptospirosis were reported that year.

    HIV/AIDS: There were 254 cumulative cases of HIV infection since 1985. AIDS cases were 135 (78 males, 57 females), of which 116 persons (64 males, 52 females) - 86% had died by the end of 1999. Over the period 1985-1999, the number of reported cases of AIDS increased steadily for all ages. The number of cases doubled for males and tripled for females, reducing the male-female ratio from 2.2:1 in 1.4:1 in 1995-1999.

    Cardiovascular disease: There were 731 deaths due to cardiovascular disease from 1996 to 1999, accounting for 19% of all deaths and 53 % of deaths ratio of 5.8:1. Most (21 or 62%) occurred in the 15-44 years age group, and had a male-female ratio of 9.5:1. Cardiac arrest caused 268 cardiovascular deaths (37%), ischemic heart disease 174 (24%), pulmonary circulation and other forms of heart disease 134 (18%), and heart failure 153 (21%). Females accounted for 359 (49%) of deaths due to cardiovascular disease, and persons 60 years of age or older accounted for 588 deaths (80%).

    Malignant neoplasms: Malignant neoplasms accounted for 553, 14% of all deaths, 1996-1999; of these 56% were males. The three most common sites among males were prostate (95), stomach (32) and trachea/bronchus/lung 2)

    Vector-borne Diseases There were 18 cases and one death from dengue fever, 1996-2000. In 1999, there was one imported case of malaria. No cases of yellow fever, Chagas' disease, plague, or schistosomiasis were recorded, 1996-2000. 3 ) For women, the important sites were breast (44), cervix uteri (43) and stomach (19), 1996-1999. The M:F death ratio was 7.7:1, 1996-1999. Cancer of the genital organs was the leading contributor to cancer deaths for both sexes 1996-1999; digestive organs were second. Cancer of the breast contributed 17% of all cancer deaths and respiratory organs (13%).

    Accidents and violence: Accidents and violence were responsible for 337 deaths, 9% of total deaths, 1996-1999. Of these 235 deaths were due to accidents and homicides. The M:F ratio from external causes for all ages was 3.7:1, Also, deaths from accidents represented 70% of all external causes of death, 1996-1999. Deaths from Motor vehicle accidents (98), 42% of this category, 1996-1999; the M:F ratio 5.1:1. Deaths from accidental drowning accounted for 37 deaths or 16 % of deaths due to accidents, 1996-1999. The majority of drowning fatalities were males (32). Homicide with 61 deaths was the second most frequent external cause, 1996-1999. The M:F ratio was 5.1:1. There were 34 suicides where the M:Fratio was 5.8:1, 1996-1999.

    National health policies and plans: The main objective of the National Health Policy of the Ministry of Health (MOH) for June 1993 to July 2003 is to maintain and upgrade the number of human resources present and future. The National Health Policy covers health personnel, revenue collection, technology use, population growth, vulnerable and at-risk groups, substance abuse, workers' health, environmental issues, HIV/AIDS, community participation.

    Health sector reform: A Health Sector Reform Committee appointed in 1997. The main issues for health sector reform included decentralization of management and functions, integration of different levels of care, improved financing and quality assurance. It is guided by the following principles: community participation, decentralization, intersectoral collaboration, evidence-based decision-making, quality care assessment, and institutional strengthening and sustainability. The Planning Unit within the MOH adjusted the implementation plan, and developed a communication plan and strategy jointly with the Bureau of Health Education; funds were approved for its implementation in the 2001/2002 budget.

    Organization of the health sector: Various departments within the MOH are responsible for the implementation of health programs such as health education, environmental health, preventive services, hospital and curative services. Primary health care services are mainly provided at the 34 health centers and two (2) district hospitals. In addition to routine general medicine clinics, special services are offered in obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, surgery, sexually transmitted infections and mental health. Special clinics and basic services are offered to diabetic and hypertensive clients at the primary care facilities. Secondary and specialized care and services are provided at the three general hospitals and the psychiatric hospital. Although clients may seek care at any facility, the administration and management of health facilities are based on the catchment population.

    Private participation in the health system:
    Many medical and dental practitioners work in both the public and private sector. Nurses have recently been employed in the hotel industry and in private home nursing care.

    Health insurance: The main types of health insurance are private health insurance for individuals and groups, and coverage by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). The NIS pays an annual contribution to the MOH to cover in-patient hospital expenses for employees who contribute to the NIS.

    Certification and professional health: The Medical and Nursing Councils are responsible for the registration and monitoring of doctors and nurses, and the Medical Board for dentists, pharmacists and optometrists.

    Drugs: The use of prescription drugs is monitored by the Chief Pharmacist of the MOH.

    Quality of the environmental: The monitoring of water quality is the responsibility of the Environmental Health Branch. The Pesticide Control Board is responsible for the registration and licensing of pesticides. The Ministry of Planning is response for physical development and the environment.

    Health promotion: Within the MOH, the portfolio of health education and promotion falls with the Bureau of Health Education. Other ministries and non-governmental agencies are also involved in health promotion and education.

    Disease prevention and control: Disease prevention programs exist for TB, leprosy, HIV/AIDS, dengue fever, measles and (STIs). Activities include surveillance, management and treatment of cases, and special clinics (STIs). A National Tuberculosis Register was established in 1996 and a cancer registry was established in 1995. The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) has maintained high vaccination coverage for many years; and the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases is very low. High-risk pregnancies are monitored and iron supplements and counseling provided. Screening programs are offered for cervical, breast and prostate cancer. Preventive services are free except for contraceptives and vaccinations required for college entry, and yellow fever.

    Epidemiological surveillance systems: Sources of data for the Communicable Disease Surveillance System are: routine medical clinics held at the 34 health centers and two district hospitals. The system captures information on notifiable diseases, HIV infection and AIDS, measles, rash and fever illness, as well as acute flaccid paralysis on a weekly basis, suspected cases of fever, diarrhea and dengue, TB. The Food Unit of the Environmental Health Department bears responsibility for food protection, control and safety. Inspections of food service establishments and wholesalers are conducted at least three times per year. Food handlers are monitored.

    Organization and function of health care services of populations: The Environmental Health Branch is a department within the MOH responsible for the delivery of environmental health services including food and water safety, vector control and sanitation services. The Water and Sewerage Authority is responsible for the collection, storage and distribution of potable water.

    Ambulatory, emergency and in-patient services: There are six hospitals (5 public, 1 private), three acute general hospitals, two district hospitals, and one psychiatric hospital. Some primary care is provided to out-patients at medical clinics and at the accident and emergency departments of the general hospitals. The two district hospitals provide primary care as well as in-patient care for minor medical, surgical and pediatric problems, as well as maternity units for low-risk deliveries. The psychiatric hospital provides in-patient and some primary care to out-patients through community psychiatric clinics at the hospital and in seven other districts. There is a drug and alcohol detoxification center.

    Primary care services: Out-patient services for general morbidity are provided at medical clinics at the health centers and at district hospitals and through the casualty or emergency departments of acute general hospitals. Medical and pharmaceutical services are made available at health centers and district hospitals. Maternal and child health (MCH) services offered at MCH clinics include antenatal and postnatal care, as well as immunizations of children.

    Health supplies:
    Drugs are provided through the Organization of East Caribbean States (OECS). All vaccines used in the public sector are procured through PAHO's Revolving Fund. A National Procurement Committee is in place to coordinate the procurement of biomedical equipment.

    Human resources: Personnel employed by the health (public-sector) increased between 1985 and 1999. Between 1989 and 1999 the ratio of physicians, trained nurses and dentists per 10,000 population increased from 4.3 to 5.3, from 19 to 20, and from 0.76 to 0.85 respectively.

    Training: The Sir Arthur Community College is the local institution that trains health personnel. Community Health Aides are trained by the Community Nursing Department. Training of other categories of health personnel are not provided locally. In-service training for health professionals is frequently organized by the MOH and other health related organizations. Cuba provides scholarships for training in medicine and other health related areas. The UWI offers training in medicine, environmental health, health education and other related areas.

    Labor markets for health personnel: Most of the available health personnel are employed in the public sector. Traditionally, doctors, dentists and pharmacists are the majority of health professionals employed in the private sector but private companies offering diagnostic services and optical care are now available.

    Health sector expenditure and financing: Primary sources of funding for Government recurrent expenditure comprise taxes and user fees. The National Insurance Scheme makes an annual contribution to the consolidated fund to cover in-patient hospital expenses. The execution of many major capital projects has relied heavily on international aid. The per capita budget on health for 1999 was about US$ 120 and the health budget as a proportion of GDP was 4.3%.

    External technical cooperation and financing: The health sector of Saint Lucia received technical and financial assistance from several external agencies and governments, 1996-1999. The European Development Fund provided US $741 thousand for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Victoria hospital. The European Union funded several projects: Major repairs to public facilities, construction of a shelter for victims of abuse, furniture and equipment, Integrated Child Protection and Development Programme, and Care for the Elderly; funds amounted to US $1,290,370. The Department for International Development (DFID) funded a project proposal for a new Women's Support Center . The French Government provided funding for the construction of the new maternity wing and equipment for the Victoria hospital; computer software, hardware, and the services of a French epidemiologist for the Epidemiology Unit of the MOH. The Cuban government provided US $92,593 to cover the cost of a feasibility study for the construction of a new psychiatric hospital. The Chinese government donated US $14,815 to the 'Golden Fund' which was established by the Minister of Health to raise funds for the construction of the new psychiatric hospital.