Global Health Issues 2019: Kuwait


Fraser Clarke

Health issues are always evolving, with each country and continent having its own unique set of challenges. In the latest in our exclusive new series, Global Health Issues, we’ll take a look at each country we work with, and examine what conditions are most prevalent there.

In the second installment we’ll take a look at Kuwait. Once a booming expat destination, many now overlook it in favour of neighbours like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, however a small number of expats do still take the jump each year.

Bronchitis & Lower Respiratory Problems

The prevalence of conditions such as COPD and lung abscesses appears to be 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. According to the latest figures it was estimated that over 4,000 people lost their life as a direct result of a respiratory condition, a rise of over 100 annually.

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 the amount of cars and oil refineries in the major industrial areas creates an unhealthy environment. Further to this year round dust from the desert, along with constant building work, have also been put forward as factors behind these worryingly high statistics.


Given Kuwait’s well publicised issues with lifestyle related health conditions, it should come as little surprise that Diabetes rates in the country are amongst the highest in the world - with an estimated 37% of the population suffering from the condition - almost double the global average. 

Concerningly the number of children with type-1 Diabetes is also at a world leading level, meaning that it looks as if the country will have to work with patients suffering from the condition for many years to come. People with Diabetes find themselves at a higher risk of a range of health issues, from eyesight disorders to heart conditions and kidney failure.

Heart Disease and Strokes

Completing a hat-trick of lifestyle related health conditions is the number of people suffering from heart disease and strokes in Kuwait. As with most Gulf locations Ischaemic heart disease is the biggest single killer of residents in the country and, when combined with strokes, it leads to the deaths of over 1,500 people every year. 

Unhealthy diets remain widespread and a lack of physical activity has lead to Kuwait being branded the ‘fattest nation on earth’ with a staggering 42.8% of the population classified as being obese.

Until that figure drops it looks as if Kuwait will continue to face the same serious health issues.

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 ninth 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 the country.

Road Accident Injuries

Moving to Kuwait? We’d recommend getting a driver, the highways can be wild.

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 almost 700 people dying on them each year. Driving standards are poor, with the use of smartphones and cigarettes behind the wheel given as the major reasons for the 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 makes trauma surgeons especially in demand in the country.

Would you be interested in a move to Kuwait? Opportunities don’t come along very often, so register on our website to get ahead of the rest today.