One of the leading causes of preventable mortality in Cyprus is death due to lung cancer, while one in five deaths is tobacco-related, Cyprus’ state of health profile, compiled by EU bodies, showed.
Presenting the report at the EU House in Nicosia on Thursday, the Technical Officer at the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Erica Richardson, said that “Cypriots live a very long time,” adding that at 82.2 years, Cyprus has one of the highest life expectancies in the EU.
“Deaths from many diseases have actually been decreasing,” Richardson noted. Particularly notable, she said, are the falling mortality rates of ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
On the down side, though, the report showed an increasing mortality rate for lung cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, though Richardson shed doubt on the validity of the data collected for Alzheimer’s disease “due to changes in the way the disease is defined.”
“The increase in deaths from lung cancer is notable and that is very much linked to a legacy of high smoking rates in the country.”
A striking one in five deaths in Cyprus is tobacco-related, Richardson showed.
Cyprus is also spending well below the EU average on public healthcare
At the same time, according to the data she presented, Cyprus only spends 1 per cent of its GDP on preventive services, compared to the EU average of 3.1 per cent.
Cyprus is also spending well below the EU average on public healthcare, as data showed that in 2017 the government spent 6.7 per cent of GDP compared to the EU-wide average of 9.8 per cent.
According to the data, the public share of health expenditure which stands at 43 per cent is the lowest in the EU which has an average of 79 per cent.
Conversely, private health expenditure, which mainly consists of direct out-of-pocket payments, amounted to 56 per cent of total spending, the highest in the EU.
Richardson also said that “one of the notable things about Cyprus is the increase in the number of people aged over 65,” adding that “that as a demographic trend is notable because the health system has to adapt to meet the needs of that population.”
At the same time, Cyprus has the lowest preventable mortality rate in the EU and low mortality from treatable causes, reflecting lower risk factor.
She also said that obesity is also high in children. “These are issues that the authorities are aware of and they have been putting things in place to try and address.”
The data was collected by the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, in cooperation with the European Commission.