Malta to become first EU country to launch food and nutrition policy

World Health Organisation Europe regional director Zsuzsanna Jakab in Malta for the launch of Malta’s food and nutrition policy

Malta is set to become the first EU country to launch a revamped food and nutrition policy, according to parliamentary secretary for health Chris Fearne and World Health Organisation Europe regional director Zsuzsanna Jakab.

Half of the European Union’s population is overweight while 20% of the same population is obese. According to Jakab, when compared to the EU average, Malta's health status was good and life expectancy was above EU average.

Addressing a press conference at the parliamentary secretariat for health, Fearne also announced that the government, in collaboration with WHO and the University of Malta, would be setting up a WHO collaborating centre between small island states.

Ebola was among the topics discussed between the two sides, with Malta suggesting that WHO should increase procedures in ensuring that monitoring of irregular migration takes place in order to identify any possible cases of ebola coming through irregular migration.

“The risk of the spread of ebola in the EU region is extremely low. We are well prepared and this preparedness has been tested several times. We did not have imported cases of ebola in Europe but cases of medical evacuations,” Jakab said.

According to Fearne, WHO has already provided support in identifying pieces of policy that need to be updated in the event of a larger influx of migrants.

“We have also discussed health priorities for Malta’s EU presidency in two years’ time,” he said, adding that childhood obesity would be a priority.

The World Health Organisation will also be carrying out a performance assessment of Malta’s national health system: “This is a tool to help us understand our health system based on 70 indicators. Such assessment will be carried out periodically and will allow us to compare ourselves with other regions.”


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