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No worries about disease prevention

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We live in a country where the creation of a health system was the subject of political debate and not just for more than 18 years before it was implemented. We live in a country where the health of citizens costs the state € 900 for everyone, at a time when we had to be struck by the coronavirus to give the necessary importance in the field of health. Words such as prevention may not be included in the Cypriot dictionary, but the country's population is one of the healthiest in the EU. Health Systems and Policies, in collaboration with the European Commission. We may be in a better position than many other European countries, but that does not mean that our health system is working perfectly. “P”, analyzing the health profile of the Cypriots, identified and presents the seven black spots that need improvement.

  1. Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, life expectancy this year remained stable at 82.3 years, while in the EU it is 80.6 years. However, it is worth noting that, as in several other EU countries, life expectancy growth in Cyprus has slowed over the last decade, with experts attributing this to behavioral factors. In particular, more than a third of all deaths can be attributed to behavioral risk factors. About 35% of all deaths recorded in Cyprus in 2019 could be attributed to behavioral risk factors, such as smoking, poor diet, alcohol consumption and low physical activity. This percentage is lower than the EU average (39%). Almost one fifth (19%) of all deaths in 2019 could be attributed to smoking. It is estimated that dietary factors, such as low intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as high consumption of sugar and salt, were responsible for 14% (approximately) of all deaths in the country. About 4% of all deaths can be attributed to alcohol consumption, while about 2% of deaths are related to low physical activity. Air pollution in the form of exposure to fine particles and ozone was responsible for about 5% of all deaths.
  1. Cancer, diseases of the circulatory system and diabetes are the three main causes of death in our country. For 2018, diseases of the circulatory system were the leading cause of death, accounting for 30%. Ischemic heart disease was the leading cause of death in 2018, at 11%, followed by stroke and diabetes. While mortality rates from circulatory diseases have dropped significantly over the past two decades, cancer mortality rates have remained relatively stable. The second most common cause of death for the same year, at 11%, was cancer. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death, followed by breast cancer.
  1. One of the most important findings of the European Parliament report is the ignorance of Cypriots about their state of health. Most Cypriots may report that they are in good health, but at the same time two out of five adults suffer from at least one chronic illness. 78% of the Cypriot population considers that their health is good, a percentage higher than the EU average (69%). About two in five Cypriot adults (39%) reported having at least one chronic illness, slightly higher than the EU average (36%).
  1. Smoking is one of the most important public health problems for our country, especially for men. More than a fifth of adult Cypriots, namely 23%, reported smoking on a daily basis in 2019, a rate higher than the EU average of 20%. This is mainly due to the high smoking rates of men which is at 33%, compared to 14% of women. Despite the increase in the percentage of adults, the positives include the fact that the percentage of 15-year-olds who smoked was lower than in most EU countries in 2019. However, e-cigarettes have become more popular and one in ten 15-year-olds in Cyprus reported smoking e-cigarettes in 2019, although this rate was also slightly lower than the EU average.
  1. One in seven Cypriot adults (14.6%) was obese in 2019, a rate similar to the EU average (16%), at a time when childhood obesity rates are higher. Specifically, in the period 2015-17, 20% of children aged 6-9 were obese, a rate higher than the EU average (12%). Low physical activity is an important factor in overweight and obesity. Four out of ten adults in Cyprus engage in less than 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity per week. This is the minimum necessary activity set in 2014 by the World Health Organization for the purpose of maintaining good physical condition, with the percentage of Cypriots not exercising enough being higher than the EU average (32%). Malnutrition is another major cause of overweight and obesity. Cypriot adults reported that in 2019 they did not consume at least one portion of fruits (40%) or vegetables (52%) per day. These are high rates, however, which are still lower than in most other EU countries.
  1. Alcohol consumption by adults in Cyprus may be lower than in most EU countries, but the percentage of minors is higher. Almost four out of ten minors over the age of 15 consume alcohol, and in many cases it is consumed at regular intervals. For the year 2019, this percentage rose to 37%, and is higher than in other European countries. It is indicative that the corresponding percentage in the EU is on average 26%.
  1. Expenditure on prevention in Cyprus is much lower than the EU average. Specifically, for the year 2019 the Cypriot government spent a little less than € 332 for each citizen, about half the average for the EU as a whole (€ 678). At the same time, spending on prevention services did not exceed € 23 per capita, and is much lower than the EU average of € 102 per capita. Long-term care also receives low levels of funding, accounting for 4.2% of health expenditure, compared to the much higher 16% in the EU.

The “good” of the pandemic

The main problem identified in the profile of the Cypriot patient has to do with the way of life of the citizens and the shortcomings in the field of prevention. Par & # 8217; However, Cyprus has successfully implemented the long-awaited reforms that ensure universal health coverage. Financing reforms introduced shortly before the pandemic allowed for greater flexibility in planning and contracting with service providers, which facilitated the development of mobilization capacity during the Great Depression. The main limitation of the capacity is the continuing shortage of health workers, a fact that emerged with the pandemic, and mainly concerns public hospitals. In addition, it is worth noting that the coronavirus pandemic has helped to accelerate technological upgrades in the health sector. For the first time, the beneficiaries were given access to arrange their appointments online with doctors in public hospitals, but also for their coronavirus vaccination. In addition, Cyprus has managed to rapidly develop the national vaccination campaign, with the result that currently 9 out of 10 of our fellow citizens have completed their vaccination schedule, with our country exceeding the EU average (85%).

Source: politis.com.cy

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