To examine the historical trends of premature death due to cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus (CVD-DM) in the Caribbean and to identify any associations between these trends and health care expenditure.
Death data were obtained from the World Health Organization Mortality Database; population data, from the United Nations World Population prospects; and health care expenditure data, from the World Bank. In all, 17 Caribbean countries had mortality data; however, only 11 had both mortality and health care expenditure data available. The analyses explored country-level trends in age-standardized CVD-DM mortality rates using 3-year moving averages from 1995 – 2014 for women and men. Associations between secular mortality rate change and health care expenditure were considered.
CVD-DM mortality rates ranged from 10.7 – 247.1 per 100 000, with a mean of 92.3 and standard deviation of 47.6. Of the 17 countries, 12 showed a reduction in premature CVD-DM mortality in both men and women, with others either showing no improvement or increases. Mortality rates for men were 1.46 times higher than for women. On average, there was a 68% increase in health care expenditure, with a 15.4% fall in CVD-DM mortality in women and 4.9% in men. Mixed effects modelling demonstrated a weak association between health care expenditure and declining CVD-DM mortality for both women -0.006 (95%CI = -0.014 – 0.001) and men -0.008 (95%CI = -0.017 – 0.001).
Findings suggest that progress has been made to reduce premature CVD-DM related mortality in a number of Caribbean countries. Differences between countries may be partly related to differences in health care system performance, although further research that considers confounders is needed.