Global Healthcare Issues | Kuwait


Fraser Clarke

Across the world a vast range of medical issues affect different parts of the planet to different degrees. Some are global, some are regional and some can be specific to a much smaller area.

As a medic looking at taking your career overseas, knowing as much as you can about a country’s health issues can be the key behind successfully securing a new job. As well as this it can also play a major role in helping you to decide where your future could lie.

Here, therefore, is the fourth in our exclusive new series of guides to the major health issues facing the countries we most commonly work with. In this article we will look at a country that has recently started to see an upturn in its popularity once more - Kuwait.

Heart Disease & Strokes - As with most Gulf locations Ischaemic heart disease is the biggest single killer of residents in Kuwait. When combined with strokes it leads to the deaths of over 1500 people every year. The lifestyle enjoyed by many in the country is one of the main reasons behind this high figure. Unhealthy diets are widespread and a lack of physical activity has lead to Kuwait being branded the ‘fattest nation on earth’ with an estimated 42.8% of the population classified as being obese.

Bronchitis & Lower Respiratory Problems - Such as COPD and lung abscesses are seemingly on the rise in Kuwait, although strict bans on smoking in public places are covering more and more of the country with the aim of reducing this statistic in the future. In 2015 it was estimated that over 4000 people lost their life as a direct result of a respiratory condition, a rise of over 100 on previous years.

A range of reasons have been given for these issues. Smoking rates in the country are still higher than they are in most Western locations, whilst pollution levels are high in the major cities due to the amount of cars and oil refineries. The year round dust from the desert, along with the constant building work, have also been suggested as factors behind these unusually high statistics.

Diabetes - Another health condition that can be caused by a poor diet is diabetes, and rates in Kuwait are amongst the highest in the world with an estimated 37% of the population suffering from the condition - almost double the world’s average. The number of children suffering from type-1 diabetes is also one of the world’s highest, meaning that it looks as if the country will have to work with patients suffering from the condition for many years to come.

Those with diabetes will also find themselves at a higher risk of eyesight disorders, heart conditions and kidney failure.

Road Accident Related Injuries - Although not a health issue in its own right we felt it right to include road accidents in this feature. Kuwait’s roads are some of the most dangerous in the world with over 500 people dying on them each year. Driving standards are poor, with the use of smartphones and cigarettes whilst driving given as the main factors behind the (slightly terrifying) statistics.

Injuries sustained in accidents can range from minor strains, fractures and breaks to severe (and potentially debilitating) head, neck and back injuries. This can make the work of trauma surgeons in Kuwait particularly crucial.

Womb Cancer - Worldwide Cancer remains one of the most feared, and most common, illnesses. In Kuwait this is no different, with Womb Cancer rates being the 9th highest on the planet. The condition can affect women of any age, bust most commonly it is seen in those over 50. It’s not yet known what causes it, however it is thought to be closely linked to hormone imbalances, diabetes and obesity - which may explain its prevalence in Kuwait.

Kuwait is a unique country which is all too often overlooked by medics considering a move to the Middle East. It can offer the ideal mix of a traditional Arabic culture and a Western way of life, as well as all new, multi million dollar, facilities and generous, tax free, salaries combine to make it an extremely attractive destination for Western trained medics to move to.

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