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Health System in Bahrain

Bahrain was the first Gulf State to offer its citizens free health care. Today, according to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2009 figures), Bahrain has a life expectancy of 73 years for males and 76 for females and spends 4.5 percent of its GDP on health care. Ministry of Health facilities provide health care free to Bahrainis and subsidized health care to non-Bahrainis. Bahrain scores well on the major health indicators: its immunization rates are high and its maternal mortality rates low. WHO recently warned that modern diseases – e.g., cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer – and injuries ‘are rising dramatically in Bahrain, and represent the leading causes of death in the country’. It states that tobacco smoking among both men and women is ‘a concern’ and obesity is ‘an emerging major problem’. Infectious diseases are largely under control in Bahrain, ‘due to a very efficient immunization programme’. Infectious diseases of childhood have been almost eradicated, but viral infections, such as gonorrhoea, syphilis, and hepatitis, are on the rise. The threat of heat stroke is most serious among foreign construction workers: there is an official ban on outdoor work between noon and 4:00 PM during July and August, but employers frequently ignore this.

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