Heart problems continue to be the greatest cause of death among the Maltese
A report by the European Commission has placed Malta among the people in the EU who live the longest, thanks to the health services in the country. However not everything is as rosy as it seems.
The report says that two out of every five people in Malta die as a result of obesity and smoking…with the greatest cause of death among the Maltese continuing to be heart problems.
The report also concludes that the greatest challenges facing public health in Malta are the consumption of alcohol and the increase in new HIV cases.
The report about the state of health of EU citizens shows that men and women in Malta are living to an average age of more than 82, and that they are healthy for that age. This rate, which has increased by four years when compared with the year 2000, is among the highest in the EU.
The report says that although over a span of 16 years, the deaths related to heart problems have been cut down by half, they are still the largest cause of death among the Maltese, followed by cancer. One of the main challenges to public health is still obesity, with more than one fourth of adults and one third of young people considered to be overweight or obese.
Gemma Williams who worked on the report on Malta said that two out of every five people die from obesity and smoking.
“Obesity rates for both adults and children are now the highest in the EU so that is obviously a major public health challenge to be addressed.”
She explained that another concern is the consumption of alcohol and other diseases prevalent in society.
“There are also concerns about diabetes, newly diagnosed cases of HIV and mental health and these issues need tackling going forward.”
The report says that the expenditure on health in Malta is 9.3% of the Gross Domestic Product….slightly less than the EU average.
The document mentions that medical professionals have increased but that there are not enough nurses to cope with the health services. The report notes that although the patients who are cured of cancer have increased, the rate of screening among the Maltese is still too low.
The report says that Malta has managed to reduce the waiting list for operations, but it also mentions the challenge of long waiting times for outpatients, with some people finding a solution by going to a specialist in a private clinic or hospital, which can lead to injustice for those who cannot afford to do this. The report stresses the need for continuous investment in primary care.