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HEALTH

Health services cut by 1.9 percent in three years

The number of public health facilities in Italy dropped by 1.9 percent between 2008 and 2011, according to a Ministry of Health report released this week.

Health services cut by 1.9 percent in three years
The figures show an overall drop in health services during the first three years of the economic crisis. Hospital photo: Shutterstock

While the figures show an overall drop in health services during the first three years of the economic crisis, the Ministry of Health said some areas had seen improvement.

Rehabilitation services jumped by 6.6 percent in the public health system and were up by 0.2 percent in private clinics, between 2008 and 2011, the ministry said.

During the same period services for residents – specifically those who are not independent and do not have assistance at home – were increased by 1.8 percent by the health authorities and shot up by 7.8 percent in the private sector.

Outpatients services also saw a slight increase in the public healthcare system, of 0.1 percent in the public sector, but were down by 1.5 percent in private healthcare.

The Ministry of Health report also charted the availability of hospital beds, with four per thousand residents nationally in 2011.

Southern Molise came top with 4.7, while the central region of Umbria had just 3.5 and Campania, in southern Italy, coming last with 3.4 beds for every thousand potential patients. 

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HEALTH

Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020

Coronavirus cut average life expectancy in Italy by 1.2 years in 2020, and by more than four years in parts of the country hit hardest by the pandemic, official statistics showed on Monday.

Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020
A cemetery in Bergamo, one of the parts of Italy which has suffered the highest death toll during the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Life expectancy at birth last year stood at 82 years, compared to 83.2 years in 2019, the Istat national statistics office said in a new release.

“In 2020, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting sharp increase in mortality abruptly interrupted the growth in life expectancy at birth that had characterised the trend until 2019,” it said in a statement.

For many years Italy has boasted one of the longest life expectancies in Europe. But with the spread of the coronavirus, its ageing population was especially vulnerable to falling sick.

Italy has recorded close to 130,000 deaths from Covid-19 in total, which have mainly been among the elderly.

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The drop in life expectancy was even steeper in some regions such as the northern provinces of Bergamo and Cremona, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.

Men lost on average 4.3 and 4.5 years while women lost 3.2 years and 2.9 years in these areas.

More than 129,500 people with coronavirus have died in Italy, the majority in the northern regions where 36 percent of the population lives.

According to Istat, the pandemic has wiped out many of the gains made year-on-year since 2010, when Italy’s average life expectancy was 81.7.

Italy was the first European country to face a major outbreak of Covid-19 and for a time the region of Lombardy, the nation’s economic heart, became the epicentre of the global pandemic.

Quality of life has also been impacted in Italy, particulary due to the economic repercussions of the crisis.

The government has since rolled out a vaccination programme that, as of Monday evening, had almost 72 percent of the population over 12 fully immunised.

Italy has set a target of vaccinating at least 80 percent of the population by the end of September.

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