Global Health Issues 2019: Malta

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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 sixth article in what’s proving to be a popular series we’re examining the state of health in Malta - a little island that is full of big opportunities for medical professionals. 

Cardiovascular Disease

As with the rest of the world, Malta is facing a sizeable battle with cardiovascular disease - with people in the country now at the highest risk in Europe of dying from the condition. 

Malta’s historically high smoking rate has been identified as a major reason for this, whilst the country’s adult obesity rate also lends itself to rising rates of cardiovascular conditions. Despite the pleasant climate and fresh, healthy Mediterranean diet it remains the most common cause of death on the island.

Childhood Obesity

This perhaps comes as more of a surprise, and hints that Malta’s battle with Cardiovascular Disease could be here to stay for the long-term. Malta is home to one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the world - at around 40% - with those between the ages of five and eight the most ‘at risk’ group.

In response the Maltese Government have introduced guidelines around portion control for different age groups, whilst they are looking to promote healthy, more active lifestyles for children in the area.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease rates in Malta are some of the highest globally, with it ranked seventh for prevalence of the debilitating neurodegenerative condition.

Those suffering find themselves with a tremor, make involuntary movements and experience stiff and inflexible muscles. It is estimated that there are almost 1,500 cases of Parkinson’s diagnosed in Malta, and more that are yet to be discovered. Little is known about the condition, with no cure available.

Diabetes

Completing a hat-trick of lifestyle related health conditions is Diabetes - with Malta again home to one of the highest rates of the condition in Europe. Concerning statistics published late last year have shown that 45% of the country’s population are likely to be battling the condition by 2045 - whilst figures currently sit at around one in eight.

With childhood obesity appearing to be on the rise, it looks as if Diabetes will remain a major challenge in Malta for years to come.

Dental Decay

Dental decay is fast becoming a major issue in Malta - especially on the island of Gozo. 

Recently published research studied 332 patients at a mobile clinic on the island, with the findings showing that 78% of patients required restorative treatment in their gums, whilst two-thirds of those over the age of 20 were missing teeth.

Taking a more general look at oral health in the nation, the researchers found that children’s dental health in Malta is fast deteriorating - with a rise in tooth erosion noted especially in pre and primary school children. Much of the blame for this has been placed on carbonated and sugary soft drinks which are often targeted at this market.

Is Malta somewhere that you had considered moving? We’ve got a small number of opportunities available on our website, and are anticipating many more over the coming months. Register today to get ahead of the rest - a dream move could be closer than you might imagine.