Global Health Issues 2020: United Arab Emirates


Sarah Peddie

Health issues are always evolving which means countries and continents all around the world are having to face different challenges in tackling them. In 2020, the whole world has faced challenges with trying to tackle the novel coronavirus that has taken hold of nearly every country. Despite this being a massive issue, there are still many other health issues that still need to be tackled.

In this article, we take a look at what health issues are present in the United Arab Emirates in 2020.


As we all know by now, the novel coronavirus has taken control of the whole world and cost so many people their lives. The problem with this is that there is no known cure for the virus as we were made aware of its presence in December 2019. There is currently a race to find a vaccine to tackle the virus and make people immune. 

In the UAE, the virus had its peak in the month of May but since then the cases have come down. The country has just under 60,000 cases (as of 29 July) of the coronavirus throughout the emirates with a total of 347 deaths. There is currently a steady flow of around 300 new cases daily.

Just under 5 million tests have been carried out - with an average of 47,000 tests being carried out daily. The public have been urged to join the track and trace initiative to protect themselves and others and stop the spread of the virus.


In the UAE, around 4,500 new cases of cancer are reported every year and the country is determined to bring this down by 18 percent by 2021. According to data posted by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi in 2011, Leukemia and Colorectal were at the top cancers in males and Breast and Leukemia were the most found in women.

Cancer is the third leading cause of death in Abu Dhabi and it accounts for 16% of total deaths. 


One in 11 adults within the UAE suffer from Diabetes according to the International Diabetes Federation which accounts to 19 percent of the population. This number is expected to rise to 32 percent of the population (aged between 20-79) which includes nationals and expatriates over the next decade. 

The UAE is currently in the top 10 countries with a high prevalence of diabetes in the world and this is why the Government is highlighting the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy and exercising regularly and raising awareness about the disease.

Coronary Heart Disease

Cardiovascular diseases are a big killer in the UAE with around 40 percent of all deaths within the country. Lifestyle factors play a big part in cardiovascular diseases and an unhealthy lifestyle and residents in the UAE typically die from heart attacks 20 years earlier than the rest of the world.

In 2019, a survey conducted by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi found out that almost 71 percent of UAE residents have at least one major risk factor for heart diseases.

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