Policy Planning & International Health Division
Sociedade Beneficente Israelita Brasileira Hospital Albert Einstein
The health status of the Maldivians has improved significantly. The life expectancy increased from 57 years in 1990 to 75 years in 2009 and the other indicators such as maternal and child survival rates have also shown similar leap. 1 Maldives ranks one of the top countries in the SAARC after Sri Lanka in health indicator achievements. As the economy and living standards improve, the country is also experiencing the epidemiological transition with a swift change of disease burden from communicable to non-communicable diseases. Chronic non-communicable diseases are emerging as the main cause of morbidity and mortality in the country with the fast changing lifestyle and development. NCDs (including injuries) account for 78 % of the total disease burden.2
NCDs are expected to be a key challenge for the population health as the country is increasingly being exposed to globalization and NCD risk factors: tobacco use, importation of unhealthy food (diet rich in saturated fats or high salt consumption) and inadequate consumption of vegetables and fruits and urban sedentary lifestyles. NCDs have far reaching negative externalities not only through health of the affected individual, but losses incurred to family members, society and country due to productivity loss and prolonged care and treatment needed for a member with NCDs.