Health in Commonwealth Europe

  • On average, the healthcare system in Commonwealth Europe is very well funded and well staffed. Cyprus and the United Kingdom have 230 and 274 doctors per 100,000 members of the population, respectively, while Malta has over 300 doctors (2009). In addition, Cyprus and Malta have 398 and 663 nurses and midwives, with over 1,000 nurses and midwives per 100,000 members of the United Kingdom’s population (2009). These are amongst the highest numbers of medical staff in the Commonwealth. The United Kingdom has the highest proportion of public expenditure on health compared to the rest of the European member states, with 8% of its GDP which equates to US$3,285 per capita spent on health in 2009. Malta spends 6% of its GDP on healthcare, while Cyprus only spends 2% (2009
  • Obesity is a major health issue for Commonwealth member states in Europe. More than 50% of the adult population in Cyprus, Malta and the United Kingdom is overweight, while more than 20% of adults are classified as obese. Malta has the highest prevalence of both, with 64% of the population considered overweight and just less than 30% obese (2008).
  • The prevalence of risk factors for non-communicable disease, such as raised cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose, is relatively high in European member states, compared to other Commonwealth continents. Of the 26 member states with available information on the prevalence of raised cholesterol, the United Kingdom and Malta have the highest rates in the Commonwealth at 65.6% and 61.2%, respectively (2008). Cyprus, Malta and the United Kingdom all have a prevalence of raised blood pressure (hypertension) over 40%, with Malta the highest at 43.6% (2008). In Commonwealth Europe, Malta has a the highest prevalence of raised blood glucose, a key indicator in the presence of diabetes, at 12%, while only 8.3% of the population of the United Kingdom have a prevalence of raised blood glucose (2008).
  • The United Kingdom has a prevalence of daily smoking amongst the adult population of 17.3%, while one in five of Malta’s population smokes daily (2008).
  • Commonwealth Europe has the lowest child mortality rates of all the Commonwealth continents. Malta and the United Kingdom have infant mortality rates of 5 deaths per 1,000 live births, while Cyprus has the second lowest rate in the Commonwealth, with only 2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010. Malta has an under-five mortality rate of 6 deaths per 1,000 live births, the United Kingdom has 5 deaths and Cyprus, again, has the second lowest rate of under-five mortality in the Commonwealth at 4 deaths per 1,000 live births – only Singapore has lower rates of child mortality (2010).
  • In terms of adjusted maternal mortality rates, which takes into account government figures, as well as World Bank and UN estimates, European member states have some of the lowest rates in the Commonwealth. The United Kingdom has an adjusted maternal mortality rate of 12 deaths per 100,000 live births and Cyprus has a rate of 10 deaths, which are the fifth and fourth lowest rates in the Commonwealth. Malta, along with Australia, has the lowest rate in the Commonwealth at 8 deaths per 100,000 live births (2008).
  • Commonwealth Europe has a low prevalence of HIV/AIDS among those aged 15-49; Cyprus, Malta and the United Kingdom all have rates below 1% (2009).
  • As a whole, Commonwealth Europe has the highest income per capita, human development ranking and life expectancy. The United Kingdom has the fourth highest income per capita in the Commonwealth at $38,370 per person (2010). Cyprus follows close behind at $29,430, making it the fifth highest income per capita. The United Kingdom and Cyprus rank fourth and fifth highest in the Commonwealth in terms of human development, ranking 28 and 31 out of the 187 countries on the UN’s 2011 Human Development Index, respectively. Malta is the lowest of the European member states, with an average income of $19,270 per person and a rank of 36 on the Human Development Index. The United Kingdom has the highest life expectancy of Commonwealth Europe and the third highest in the Commonwealth at 80 years. At 79 years, both Cyprus and Malta have the fourth highest life expectancy in the Commonwealth (2010).