Health standard very high, says government
Nicosia, Apr 5 (CNA) -- The standard of health in Cyprus is considered to be very high and compares favorably with that of developed countries, according to 2003 health indicators, released today by the government department of statistics.
The share of expenditure on health as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product increased from 5.3 per cent in 1998 to 6.3 per cent in 2003.
Speaking at a press conference to mark World Health Day, Health Minister Andreas Gavrielides said heart disease, cancer, respiratory ailments and road accidents are the main cause of death in Cyprus, adding that contagious diseases have been completely eliminated.
Speaking on ''Quality of life for every mother and child'', the minister said infant mortality rate stands at 4,1 per 1,000 live births, and in the recent past there has been a steady reduction of infant mortality.
He said the government, society and the family must deal with new challenges, such as road accidents, abuse of children, drug addiction and children's bad nutritional habits.
He said according to statistics in every 10,000 births one death is recorded compared to 48 deaths in developing countries.
Total expenditure on health services during 2003 is estimated at 426.5 million Cyprus pounds of which 215.4 m. represent expenditure of the public sector and 211.1 m. of the private sector.
During 2003, 56,850 patients were admitted for treatment and discharged from the general hospitals, recording an increase of 3.1 per cent over the previous year.
The disease category ''injury, poisonings and certain other consequences of external causes'' has the highest share of inpatients at 16.1 per cent.
Outpatients attendances increased by 5.9 per cent over 2002, reaching 1.373,317 of which 31,6 per cent represented attendances at rural hospitals and health centers.
The casualty department also recorded a 6.6 per cent increase in the number of patients it treated, totaling 344,163 in 2003.