Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in MaltaLocated in the middle of the Mediterranean, south of Italy, Malta is a country made up of a small set of islands full of life and unique culture. Geographically, Malta is just smaller than twice the size of Washington, D.C. and home to nearly 450,000 inhabitants. From 1814 to 1964, Malta was a British colony but has since established itself as a republic, become a member of the European Union and adopted the euro as its currency. Here are the top 10 facts about living conditions in Malta.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Malta

  1. Malta was the only member of the EU not to have legalized divorce up until 2011. Until then, if married couples wanted to divorce, they had to leave the country to do so. This is largely due to the Roman Catholic Church’s influence over the country’s more than 95 percent Catholic population. The legislation went into effect beginning October 2011, despite opposition from even the prime minister, who worried legalizing divorce would “weaken the family structure in Malta.”
  2. The most common form of transportation in Malta is driving by car. The country permits tourists to bring cars over to the islands for a maximum of six months. There are also rental cars available for those of age. Subsequently, traffic is highly congested. Alternative modes of transportation include taxis, buses and the karrozzin, traditional horse-drawn carriages that have been in use in Malta since the mid-19th century.
  3. Malta’s government offers comprehensive varieties of health care, as well as high-quality dental care, to citizens. People can find multiple pharmacies as well, along with two main hospitals and many health centers. Although Maltese is the main official language of the islands, people speak English across all hospitals, health care facilities and pharmacies.
  4. While Malta is not really a point of conflict or transnational problems, it does have a military branch named the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM). This military branch includes all aspects; air, naval and land. While there are not any real international relations issues, Malta does serve as a transshipment point for transportation of hashish — coming from cannabis — from North Africa into Western Europe.
  5. Britain’s military presence in Malta had a massive impact on the country’s economy up until its independence in 1964. Because Malta lacks enough natural resources and has a small, domestic economic market, it relies heavily on other nations for imports. The Maltese economy also leans on the shipbuilding and repair industry, but even that is becoming depleted further and further since gaining independence.
  6. In Malta, 29.8 percent of the population is obese, causing the country to rank 28th in the world for obesity. This is likely due to Maltese citizens’ heavy reliance on cars as opposed to walking or cycling. While some use bicycles, bicycling is largely unpopular due to the poor road conditions and heavy traffic. When not on main roads, it is a bit easier to navigate the streets on a bicycle, making it an increasingly popular mode of transportation.
  7. Literacy rates among citizens 15 years and older are essentially the same at 88 percent. The Maltese Constitution warrants that both men and women have equal rights in terms of employment. Malta established The Ministry of Social Development and Equal Status for Women and has allowed for more married women to participate in the workforce.
  8. Malta expanded education systems to include compulsory schooling for children ages five to 16 in the mid-1980s. As of 2005, Malta further reformed its the education system to include regional colleges that incorporated primary and secondary school educations in addition to a junior college. Malta also has two forms of higher education, the University of Malta at Msida and the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology.
  9. Malta imports an abundance of fossil fuels in order to supply its energy. As Malta’s only natural mineral resource is limestone, used in construction, it has extremely limited clean energy resources.
  10. The youth unemployment rate in Malta is 10.30 percent as of April 2019. While this is not a huge portion of the population, youths (those under the age of 24) make up 11.44 percent of the Maltese population.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Malta highlight that, in spite of the country’s tumultuous history, it has persisted. While there are aspects Malta must improve upon such as transportation reliance and employment rates, Malta is a tiny country with an impressive development story.

Emi Cormier
Photo: Flickr

Major Diseases in Malta: A Continuing Struggle
Known for being a premier island for holiday travel, Malta is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and Europe. Since gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1964, the island of Malta has made substantial improvements to all sectors of government, including their health care system.

Diseases in Malta are generally under control in part due to the fact that the country has made extensive progress in improving its health care system. According to the WHO, “The health care system is relatively equitable and comprehensive. The health care reforms are well focused on sustainability and quality based on an integrated and holistic approach.”

However, even with these advances to their health care system, many diseases in Malta are still present and increasing within the nation. Major diseases in Malta fall under the category of non-communicable diseases. These diseases range from bronchial asthma to obesity, to heart disease and cancer.

In 2003, ischaemic heart disease was the most deadly disease in Malta, killing almost 22 percent of the population that year. Studies have shown that both Maltese women and men over the age of 30 have a higher percentage of dying from ischaemic heart disease than the average European individual.

Uterine as well as breast cancer is also a major concern in Malta. Research indicates that death rates for these particular types of cancer, in Malta, are above average than other European nations. Additionally, death rates for cervical, ovarian and pancreatic cancer have decreased within Malta, but the percentages are still above European averages.

Despite the majority of diseases in Malta being non-communicable, the CDC also recommends that for those traveling into the country to have their routine vaccines as well as vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever and rabies current and up to date.

In 2013, both an improved Mental Health Act and a general Health Act were approved by the government of Malta. These improvements have helped to steadily decrease rates of cancer and obesity while also helping those with mental diseases. The new Mental Health Act has seen tremendous success by promoting community treatment and securing the rights of mental health patients.

The government of Malta has sequentially promoted a plethora of health strategies such as the Non-Communicable Disease strategy in 2010, the National Cancer Plan in 2011, the Sexual Health strategy in 2011, the Tuberculosis Prevention strategy in 2012 and the Healthy Weight for Life strategy in 2012. These strategies were designed in order to promote health and prevention methods on a national scale.

Moreover, efforts to reduce diseases in Malta are both ever-constant and ever-changing thanks to the participation of the Maltese people and their government. These positive changes will ensure that rates of non-communicable diseases will continue to decrease while promoting a happy, healthy and well-engaged society.

Shannon Warren

Photo: Flickr