Although life expectancy at birth in Romania increased by more than four years between 2000 and 2017, it is almost six years below the EU average, being among the lowest in the European Union, according to the European Commission’s Health of State in the EU report.
“There are large disparities in life expectancy by gender and education level, particularly for men: the least educated men can expect to live about 10 years less than the most educated. Ischaemic heart disease remains the main cause of death, although cancer mortality is on the rise,” the report on Romania reads.
The ischaemic heart disease and the stroke, which remains the second leading cause of death in Romania, together accounted for more than 550 deaths per 100,000 population in 2016. The death rate from ischaemic heart disease is almost three times higher in Romania than in the EU as a whole.
Behavioural risk factors are widespread and constitute a serious threat to population health, the EC report also said, with poor nutrition and lack of physical activity being major concerns. Over 30% of men in Romania smoke, compared to only 8% of women, and regular smoking among teenagers is also high. Alcohol consumption is heavy, with 50% of men engaging in binge drinking regularly. Moreover, “although adult obesity rates are among the lowest in the EU, overweight and obesity levels among children have increased significantly in recent years.”
Romania is at the bottom of the list when it comes to health spending, both on a per capita basis (EUR 1,029 in Romania compared to an EU average of EUR 2,884) and as a proportion of GDP (5%, EU 9.8%).
“The share of publicly financed health spending (79.5%) is in line with the EU average (79.3%), and while out-of-pocket payments are generally low, except for outpatient medicines, informal payments are both substantial and widespread. In absolute terms, spending in all sectors is low and the health system is significantly underfunded,” the report says.
The document also revealed that, although the size of the health workforce increased in Romania over the course of the last decade, the local health system is still suffering from shortages of doctors and nurses.
“In 2017, there were 2.9 practising doctors per 1 000 population, the third lowest figure in the EU (EU average 3.6), and 6.7 nurses per 1 000 population,” the report reads. “Migration outflows of medical staff seeking better career and remuneration prospects abroad have contributed to the development of a domestic shortage of health professionals, with negative consequences on care accessibility. In response to this issue, the government has taken measures to try to improve retention and make employment in the health care sector more attractive.”
The full Country Health Profile for Romania is available here.
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Romanians spend on average EUR 16.5 a month on alcohol and tobacco and only EUR 10 on healthcare and health products,...