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Cyprus scores high in world healthcare study

Cyprus ranks 26th in the world when it comes to death rates from 32 causes that could be avoided by timely and effective medical care, according to a recent international study on healthcare.

Despite rows between state medics and Health Minister George Pamboridis over plans to reform the island’s health sector and introduce a new National Health Scheme (NHS), Cyprus scored high on the Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index which was published in the international medical journal ‘The Lancet’.

Greece also did well finishing 19th while Turkey was 81st in the ranking system. The UK ranked 30th.

The top country on their list is Andorra, the microstate in the Pyrenees Mountains with a population of about 85,000 and an economy is based on tourism. The lowest is the Central African Republic, the landlocked country in the middle of the continent where violence by armed groups against the civilian population has broken out in recent days.

As might be expected, many highly developed nations, such as Norway, Australia and Canada, scored well. Those in more-remote areas in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean scored poorly. In the map below, the higher the health-care quality index, or HAQ, the better the level of care, according to the study.

The United States finished 36th.

The study represents the first effort to assess access and quality of services in 195 countries from 1990 to 2015. Researchers used the HAQ Index, based on death rates from 32 causes that could be avoided by timely and effective medical care, known as “amenable mortality.”

Scores were based on estimates from the annual Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors study (GBD), a systematic, scientific effort to quantify the magnitude of health loss from all major diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and population. With more than 2,300 collaborators in 132 countries and 3 non-sovereign locations, GBD examines 300-plus diseases and injuries.

In addition, data were extracted from the most recent GBD update and evaluated using a Socio-demographic Index (SDI) based on rates of education, fertility, and income. SDI goes beyond the historical “developed” versus “developing” nations. Previous assessments of health quality and access were limited primarily to high-income countries, particularly in Western Europe.

The HAQ Index is a summary measure based on 32 causes, that in the presence of high-quality health care, should not result in death. These 32 causes were selected as part of research that Professor Martin McKee and Dr. Ellen Nolte, both co-authors in this study, began in the early 2000s. The causes are:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Diarrhea-related diseases
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Diphtheria
  • Whooping cough
  • Tetanus
  • Measles
  • Maternal disorders
  • Neonatal disorders
  • Colon and rectum cancer
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease (stroke)
  • Hypertensive heart disease
  • Chronic respiratory diseases
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Appendicitis
  • Inguinal, femoral, and abdominal hernia
  • Gallbladder and biliary diseases
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Congenital anomalies
  • Adverse effects of medical treatment

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