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Living in the era of multiple epidemics – A Malta perspective

Authors: Sarah Cuschieri

Corresponding: Sarah Cuschieri (sarah.cuschieri@um.edu.mt)

Keywords: Non-communicable diseasesCOVID-19, Epidemics, Healthcare, Population Health, Malta

Doi: none

Abstract:
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have long been a global epidemic way before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2016, it was estimated that 6.55% of the adult population in Malta suffered from at least one NCD, with type 2 diabetes, obesity and low back pain dominating the NCD scene. The onset of COVID-19 challenged the healthcare systems, as well as the wellbeing of the population. Restrictions instituted to control COVID-19 led to negative repercussions on those suffering from NCDs apart from bringing to the fore specific NCDs such as mental illness, obesity, and back pain. Furthermore COVID-19 increased the population burden through enhanced morbidity and mortality. However, the COVID-19 vaccination was observed to have helped dampen this burden. Yet, it is important that a syndemic approach is adopted to ensure that all epidemics are simultaneously given the appropriate attention and timely action is provided to safeguard the population health and wellbeing.