Global Health Issues 2020: New Zealand


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 New Zealand in 2020. This will highlight some of the problems the country has and give you an idea whether you think you could help with the health issues. 


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 New Zealand, it can be argued that the country has handled the pandemic the best throughout the whole world. So much so, that they were praised by the World Health Organisation for their efforts in trying to tackle the virus. At one point there wasn’t a single coronavirus case in the whole country in May through to June. 

So far, throughout the whole pandemic, there has been a total of over 1,900 cases and 25 deaths from covid-19 (as of October 26).

Lung cancer 

Lung cancer is the biggest cause of cancer death in New Zealand. This is because it is often detected late when it has already spread to other parts of the body. 18.3 percent of cancer deaths are caused by lung cancer which is almost one-fifth and more than any other tumour type.

Mortality rate from lung cancer is almost three times higher in Maori people than non-Maori and survival rate is poorer than that of several other countries. 


Having a stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Around 9,000 people have a stroke every year in New Zealand and over 50,000 people are living with the consequences. 

In comparison to other high-income countries, New Zealand’s stroke incidence was quite a bit higher with a rate of 119 per 100,000 in places like Auckland. Mortality rate was also higher compared to the likes of Australia.  

Mental health issues and suicide

New Zealand still has an ongoing mental health crisis on their hands which has heightened due to the coronavirus pandemic. Annual statistics that were released in August 2019 showed in the past year that there were 685 suicides. This was the fourth year in a row that the stat had risen and the suicide rate stands at 13.9 per 100,000 people. Also, rates had risen dramatically for young people, Maori and Pacific Island people. 

Last year, the Labour Government highlighted mental health issues throughout the country as a huge problem and gave a record amount of support to mental health services. This came after the country was experiencing the worst mental health outcome and had the second highest rate of youth suicide worldwide. 

There is a shortage of medical professionals specialising in psychiatry which is not helping with the mental health crisis New Zealand is facing.

If you think you could help with the health issues facing New Zealand in 2020 then register with Odyssey Recruitment today and we could help you find the perfect job.