Top Diseases in Macedonia

Macedonia is a tiny, landlocked country just to the north of Greece in southern Europe. With just over two million people, the country is larger than some of the surrounding areas like Kosovo. The top diseases in Macedonia mirror the entire rest of the world, yet the percentages of people afflicted have changed over the years.

The average annual mortality rate per 100,000 people is 743.3. This rate is down from years past. Life expectancy is 75 years old, higher than the average worldwide. Females live longer than males by about six years. Better yet, the average life expectancy has grown by about four or five years over the last 25 years.

The top diseases in Macedonia include common heart diseases capturing the top three spots. The entire top five has not changed in 25 years with each only varying slightly in the percentage that has changed. Spots four and five are still held by lung cancer and diabetes respectively. Alzheimer’s disease made the biggest jump on the list with a 37% change. COPD and cancers round out the top 10 list.

The major risk factors in Macedonia are high blood pressure, poor diet and tobacco use. The percentage of disease attributed to these risk factors and the others is 50.5%. That percentage needs to be dropped with more of an emphasis on care and services being provided to avoid losing these many people each year. More risk factors include cholesterol, pollution and alcohol and drug use. There are some that can be cut entirely to save people from that. Pollution is a global issue that needs to be addressed in many countries around the world.

Macedonia has come a long way with the life expectancy rising and many of the diseases dropping in frequency over the last 25 years. The top diseases in Macedonia list still hold a lot of what is already seen around the world. The country still has much it can improve upon, especially heart disease.

Brendin Axtman

Photo: Flickr

Refugees in Macedonia
Tucked between Greece and the rest of Eastern Europe, Macedonia sees the majority of migrant foot traffic. Controversy and conflict with Greece have plagued Macedonia for generations. This well-known history between the two countries has continually contributed to the refugee crisis. These 10 facts about refugees in Macedonia show that the country is one of the largest players in Europe in terms of refugee numbers and routes.

10 Facts About Refugees in Macedonia

  1. In 2016, the border between Greece and Macedonia was closed off, effectively closing the major Balkan route for many refugees.
  2. Macedonia is a country vulnerable to severe floods and landslides, exacerbating the problem of an increased population in a small country. The EU Humanitarian budget has consistently contributed funds to Macedonia for a combination of the increased number of refugees and also because of the high rates of natural disasters.
  3. With the closing of the border between Greece and Macedonia, the influx of refugees decreased from 815,000 refugees in 2015 to only 89,197 in 2016.
  4. The European Commission has allocated 4.4 million euros to the country of Macedonia since the start of the refugee crisis. This allowed refugees to have access to basic necessities such as food and clothing.
  5. A third of refugees in Macedonia are children. UNICEF has begun to set up child-friendly spaces where they are supplied with warm food and clothing.
  6. The 2016 closing of the Macedonia-Greece border left many migrants stranded in transit centers in Northern Macedonia, where living conditions were less than ideal. This changed the minds of many refugees, as traveling further North seemed impossible. Rather than continuing further into the EU, many migrants instead settled in Serbia or Hungary, in search of asylum.
  7. Greece has continually blocked Macedonian hopes of joining the EU. This conflict not only made the refugee crisis worse but contributed to the closing of the Greece-Macedonia border.
  8. The closure of the Greece-Macedonia border left around 13,000 refugees stranded at the border. To intensify the closing of the Greece-Macedonia border, Serbia closed its border with Macedonia the same year.
  9. The closure of many Balkan borders left thousands stranded. The Vinojug refugee center in Southern Macedonia has turned from a temporary transit center into a permanent home for hundreds of refugees. With the help of organizations such as UN Women, the once-temporary camp is turning into a home.
  10. Airbnb began a program designed for individuals all over the world to house refugees and migrants. Although the program is in the early stages, it has already been tested in Macedonia to house relief workers.

These facts about refugees in Macedonia showcase how the situation remains dire. Although the state of the refugee crisis in Macedonia seems to be looking up, there is still much to be done. With the number of refugees declining, there is hope for the future.

Sophie Casimes

Photo: Flickr

Macedonia is a relatively small country north of Greece with a population of just over two million people. Since gaining its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia has striven to improve its economic and democratic stability. As international aid and Macedonia’s own efforts to end food insecurity are at an all-time high, hunger in Macedonia has decreased drastically.

In accordance with the last set of Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations, only between 1.3 percent and 2.1 percent of children under the age of five are malnourished. A new set of goals strives to eradicate hunger completely by 2030.

Although this percentage seems small, Macedonia’s history and present state of political unrest have made it difficult to resolve issues of hunger entirely. According to a study completed this year, one-third of the country’s population remains in poverty. This rate is even higher for families with children, an issue explainable by the country’s unemployment rate, which is the highest in Europe. To tackle the looming issue of unemployment and its effect on hunger in Macedonia, the Ministry of Education and Science has worked to improve children’s access to and the quality of education.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has taken a firm stand behind this cause and worked during the past decade to institute programs that enrich student literacy and numerical competency, help disabled students and provide more opportunities for minority individuals. Furthermore, the Macedonian government is pushing its students to study abroad and also welcoming individuals from other countries to attend its universities.

Statistics at the end of 2016 indicate a strong response to this push for better education to eliminate unemployment and poverty in Macedonia. The country’s unemployment rate was reported to be 23.1 percent, compared to its high, in 2005, of 37.27 percent.

Programs put in place have already increased work readiness and lowered unemployment, which will cut off the cycle that has continued sustaining levels of hunger in Macedonia.

Emily Trosclair

Photo: Flickr

In recent years, increased assistance from the U.S. has greatly improved education in Macedonia.

Macedonia is a relatively small country north of Greece, with a population of just over two million. While its economy is considered stable on a large scale, corruption and lack of a strong legal system contribute to an unemployment rate of 30 percent.

Macedonia developed a positive relationship with the U.S. after gaining its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Since then, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has worked to improve the country’s economic and democratic stability.

Although education in Macedonia has improved (98.5 percent of individuals are literate), the country lags behind other transitioning countries. Macedonia’s 2015 PISA scores in reading, mathematics and science were among the lowest in the triennial survey of worldwide educational systems.

Since 2002, USAID has collaborated with the Macedonian Ministry of Education and Science. Together they focus on developing reading comprehension and ethnic integration skills, as well as improving the learning atmosphere for those with disabilities.

The Interethnic Integration in Education Project works to encourage educational environments that do not discriminate based on ethnicity. Through community outreach, faculty training and renovating schools as an incentive, the U.S. European Command has reached 63 schools.

Another USAID-funded project, Readers are Leaders, strives to improve literacy and numeracy competence in primary school-aged Macedonian students. Results show that the project’s interactive system has aided the performance of more than 1,500 students.

USAID helps fund two more programs, one specifically for visually impaired students. By carrying out preventative eye-screenings of young children and equipping resource centers with Braille textbooks, the Children with Visual Impairments Project helps give equal access to education to visually impaired students. The Social Inclusion through Technology project helps disabled students develop the skills to find employment and work in information and communication technology.

Education in Macedonia is taking increased priority in the country’s government agenda. In 2015, the Macedonian Ministry of Education and Science began a campaign to provide scholarships for students to travel and study abroad.

The Ministry also encourages international students to attend its universities and has nurtured a reputation as a historically rich and ethnically diverse setting for furthering one’s education.

Through existing programs and continued cultivation, it is hopeful that education in Macedonia will continue to improve.

Emily Trosclair


Photo: Flickr

Over the past 30 years, the Balkans have experienced levels of change and turmoil. The lack of stability in the region has resulted in high levels of poverty in the Balkans.

The Balkan Peninsula, or the Balkans, is a region in Eastern Europe with coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea, and the Black Sea. The countries that make up the Balkans are Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania and Greece.

Not all of the countries in the peninsula are experiencing dramatic poverty problems. For instance, less than 10 percent of the population of Montenegro is in poverty. Overall, however, poverty in the Balkans expands to about one-fourth of the region’s population.

Albania has one of the lowest standards of living and the lowest per capita income in all of Europe. Twenty-five percent of its population lives on less than $2 per day.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 15 percent of the population live in poverty. Croatia just broke through a recession that lasted until 2015. During the recession, the number of children in poverty rose by 50 percent. About one-fifth of Croatia’s population is considered poor.

Greece is in the middle of a longstanding economic crisis, on par with the Great Depression. During this time, jobs have dissipated and wages have decreased. Today, almost a quarter of Greece’s population is considered to be in conditions of severe deprivation.

Other regions experience their own financial difficulties. Kosovo was the poorest region of the former Yugoslavia, and declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Years of political instability have left 30 percent of Kosovans in poverty. In addition, one-third of the population of Macedonia lives at or below the poverty line. The country faces high unemployment rates. In Serbia, one-fourth of the population is poor, and some of its southern regions lack basic infrastructures and public services.

Despite all of the economic issues in the Balkans, there are certainly signs of optimism, specifically the crime rate. Usually, high levels of poverty coincide with an increase in crime. However, this is not the case in the Balkans, which are regarded as some of the safest countries in all of Europe. Most of the countries are simply lacking the resources necessary to provide for their people. Assistance on an international level is imperative to lift these states out of poverty.

Dustin Jayroe

Photo: Flickr

Most Americans don’t know that Macedonia, a small country just north of Greece, exists, let alone that it is a nation riddled with distress. Many facts about Macedonia go unnoticed. Gaining its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia is a young country that still faces many challenges. Macedonia has yet to solve the dispute with Greece that erupted over the origin of its name, has restricted media freedom and has limited rights for minorities. Macedonia’s membership in NATO was blocked by Greece at the Alliance’s Summit of Bucharest in 2008, and as a result the nation struggles with economic growth.

The population of Macedonia stands at around 2 million, with a median age of 36.8 years. The population is growing at a rate of 0.21 percent, ranking 180 out of all the countries in the world, and there is currently much controversy surrounding the treatment of migrants to the country. The Macedonian birth rate is 11.64 per 1,000 persons (ranked 171 out of the world’s nations), and the death rate is approximately 9 per 1,000 (ranked 66 in the world). 57 percent of the population lives in an urban environment, and luckily almost 100 percent of this population has access to drinking water.

The rest of Macedonia’s problems aside, malnutrition is not much of an issue. Although between 1.3% percent and 2.1 percent of children under the age of 5 are underweight, this statistic puts Macedonia at 128th in the world, which not bad considering all the countries that rank higher and the few that fall below, including the United States and Australia.

However, this does not mean that malnutrition is not a problem, and this percentage should still be regarded as significant and given adequate attention, as no children should have to go without proper nutrition. The most urgent of Macedonia’s struggles, however, is the current conflict with Ethnic Albanians and the treatment of migrants, and it is key that these issues are dealt with first and foremost.

-Katie Pickle

Sources: CIA, BBC
Photo: Flickr

Macedonia FYR (Former Yugoslav Republic) is a country in the crossroads: it is an emerging middle-class country, yet it has a hungry population in many areas. But great strides have been made over the last few years to decrease the number of people who are hungry, especially malnourished children.

The United Nations created the Millennium Development Goals where one goal would be to cut worldwide hunger in half by 2015. For the three years that indicators were completed for Macedonia FYR, the percentage of children under five moderately to severely underweight has dropped from 1.9 in 1999 to 1.8 in 2005 to 1.3 in 2011.

While these numbers do not seem particularly large or dramatic, they are only the percentages of children who are greatly malnourished. The numbers do not indicate the other children that might be slightly malnourished or food insecure. However, those children and their families still suffer from the effects of poverty and hunger.

Hunger in Macedonia FYR is tied to the historic economic instability of the region. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), “when prices [of food] rise, consumers often shift to cheaper, less nutritious foods, heightening the risks of micronutrient deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition.” Even though malnutrition and hunger in Macedonia FYR are less than many other developing countries, in 2006 UNICEF still reported 17 deaths out of 1000 children under five.

There is no delineation in the study between what caused those deaths, yet most can be tied to malnutrition or diseases caused by poor nutrition. Hunger is inherited; an undernourished woman will give birth to an undernourished child. Yet the opposite is also true. According to the WFP, “well-nourished women have healthier, heavier babies whose immune systems are stronger for life. A healthy, well-fed child is also more likely to attend school.”

Malnourished children are more likely to have life-long health problems and not attend school, which creates a state where the economy sees a downturn and hunger rises again. When hunger is reduced, an individual can live longer and more productively, strengthening the economy. This very trend can be seen in Macedonia FYR.

The World Bank has assisted in boosting the nation’s economy, therefore helping to reduce hunger in Macedonia FYR. The country “has been a member of the World Bank Group since 1994 and currently receives funding from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.” The World Bank also says that Macedonia FYR “is an upper-middle-income country that has made great strides in reforming its economy over the last decade.”

How does a “middle-income country” still have hunger and malnutrition at levels high enough to be part of the Millennium Development Goals program?

UNICEF says that “disparities in access to health and education between rural and urban areas are obstacles towards achieving the low mortality rate of Western European countries.” The rural areas still need much more help before hunger in Macedonia FYR can be completely eradicated.

Great achievements have been made in helping those who are hungry in Macedonia FYR, but the number of children suffering from malnutrition has not been cut in half yet like the goal states. With the country’s economy becoming stronger and more children receiving good food and an education, it is conceivable that hunger in Macedonia FYR will be eradicated in the near future.

– Megan Ivy

Sources: UNICEF, World Bank, UNICEF, UN, World Food Programme
Photo: Jstor Daily