Health disparities between Muslim and non-Muslim countries

Document Type



Emergency Medicine


We examined differences in health indicators and associated factors across countries according to the proportion of the population who are Muslim. Of 190 UN countries, 48 were classified as Muslim-majority countries (MMC) and 142 as non-MMC. Data on 41 potential determinants of health were obtained from 10 different data sources, and 4 primary outcome measures (male and female life expectancy, maternal mortality ratio and infant mortality rate) were analysed. Annual per capita expenditure on health in MMC was one-fifth that of non-MMC. Maternal mortality and infant mortality rates were twice as high in MMC as non-MMC. Adult literacy rate was significantly higher for non-MMC. Four significant predictors explained 52%-72% of the differences in health outcomes between the 2 groups: gross national income, literacy rate, access to clean water and level of corruption.


Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal