Country profile

Malta is a republic situated in the center of the Mediterranean, and one the smallest countries in the world. The population is around 410,000 and given the small geographical size, Malta is the most densely populated EU member state. Malta is ruled by a system of local government, which lie at the immediate level below the national government. Through this system is governed by a total of 68 local councils, which carry out administrative tasks for the central government, and which also are responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the local environments.

Healthcare in Malta in provided through both a public and a private system. The public system is government funded, and managed by the Ministry of Health. The Maltese healthcare system is well functioning, is ranked as number five in the world according to the WHO’s ranking system. Life expectancy at birth was 81.9 years in 2015. Life expectancy in Malta is high and the population spend on average 90% of their lifespan in good health, longer than in any other EU country. Health spending has increased steadily since 2005. In 2015, Malta spent EUR 2 255 per capita on health care, compared to the EU average of EUR 2 797. This equals 8.4% of GDP, below the EU average of 9.9%. Malta is among the top six EU countries with the highest private spending on health, amounting to 31% of total health expenditure in 2015, the majority of which is paid out of pocket.


Policy responses

In Malta the concept of health inequalities is well known and understood at the political level, but is rarely directly mentioned. A national integrated plan that explicitly aims to tackle health inequalities does not exist, perhaps as a result of the small population and a limited degree of health or social inequalities. The latter can be seen as a consequence of effective governmental measures to ensure equal access to health care services for all, and tailored programmes for those with specific needs (e.g. the national cancer plan, strategy for non-communicable diseases and the national sexual health policy).

National level cross-governmental action is not very well structured or systematic, even though there is certain awareness among politicians of the social determinants of health approach. This could be linked to the fact that monitoring and evaluation processes are not taking place on a systematic basis. Furthermore, it is necessary to improve the analysis of data to enable identification and highlighting of existing gaps, which need to be addressed.

An overview of policy responses addressing health inequalities in can be found in our Policy Database.


Good practices

An overview of projects and initiatives that are currently taking place or that have successfully been finalized, and that are addressing health inequality issues, can be found in our Project Practice Database.

Key actors

Please find below an overview of key actors in Malta working on health inequality issues:

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Key resources

Please find below an overview of relevant documents addressing health inequality issues in Malta. Further publications can be found in our Publications Database.

Are you aware of any other key resources that should be added to this list?
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