Hungarian Central Bank raises alarm over state of healthcare

GP office in Budapest
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

The poor general health condition of Hungarians is having an impact on the country’s economy, the Hungarian Central Bank (MNB) warned in its recent competitiveness report.

Hungary ranked 26th among the 27 EU member states in terms of health in 2023, with a score of 39.3, with only Romania ranking worse, according to the report.

Hungary’s score fell by 2.2 points compared to the previous year, dropping one place in the ranking. The Hungarian score is still well below the regional score of 52.5 and the EU score of 60.7.

According to the MNB, healthcare is part of national wealth and the foundation of a country’s most important resource: human capital. The health of the population is not just a personal and family matter, but also one of the most important issues for the national economy, as health affects a country’s economic performance and competitiveness.

Persistent ill health reduces active time at work and labor productivity, and premature mortality is also a major economic detriment.

Previously, the OECD reported that Hungary spends significantly less on cancer patients than the EU average. In 2019, 33 percent more people died of cancer than in other EU countries, and in 2020, 10 percent more cancer patients were diagnosed than the EU average.

According to the report, Hungarians do not take enough care of their health; for example, one in four adults is obese, the second-highest obesity rate in the EU, with only the Maltese being more overweight than Hungarians. Thirty percent of the population in Hungary has high blood pressure, and there are an estimated 1.5 million people with diabetes.

Hungary is also the most overweight among the Visegrád countries, with 25 percent of Hungarians suffering from obesity compared to 19 percent of the V4 population. By contrast, 16 percent of the population aged 18 and over in the European Union was considered obese in 2019, according to a recent analysis by the central bank.

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