Private healthcare in the North is on the rise. A lack of investment in public health has deterred doctors from working in state hospitals. In addition, health tourism has increased the number of private healthcare facilities in the TRNC.
According to a report by Bertug Topal writing in Cyprus Weekly, there are nine public hospitals and 19 medical centres compared to 15 private hospitals.
Another cause for the discrepancy is that the state takes a long time to realise its strategic planning. Waiting times vary, in the case of an emergency, a patient can have surgery immediately. In non-urgent cases, waiting times vary between once week and one and a half months.
Health tourism in the North relies mainly on foreigners and well-heeled Turks and Turkish Cypriots. Topal states that political factors and insufficient advertising have impeded progress in the private medical sector and lessened the impact on health tourism. Meanwhile, the majority of patients in public hospitals are middle-class Turks and Turkish Cypriots.
He continues that the most common diseases with the highest mortality rates are cancer, heart diseases and obesity. Cancer claiming the biggest number of lives.
To date, 6,000 people have died in the North of cancer.
There are 3,500 people getting treatment for cancer in South Cyprus, while this number is 8,000 for the North. Around 500 Turkish Cypriots are getting treatment in the South and with 100 people going to Turkey for treatment.
About 300 people suffer from heart attacks every year and 30 of them die before reaching a hospital. Most commonly, people between the ages of 40 and 60 suffer from heart disease.
A survey 2009 on obesity in the North, (there is no more recent data), showed that 11% of adults have diabetes, and another 18% are pre-diabetic.
The same survey showed that the number of adults who were obese and overweight was 67%.
For full article see Cyprus Weekly