The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is located in the Maghreb region of North Africa; by total land area, Algeria is the largest country in Africa. It is bordered by Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, and the Mediterranean Sea. As much as 90 percent of Algeria’s total area is covered by the Sahara Desert, leaving the population of 43.6 million to reside predominantly in the more fertile and habitable north. The capital, Algiers, is also located in the north, close to the Mediterranean coast. The population is 99 percent Arab-Berber in ethnic makeup and speaks mostly Arabic, French, Berber, or Tamazight, and several other dialects. Ninety-nine percent of the population identifies as Muslim.
Algeria is considered a regional power in North Africa, having the highest human development index of all continental (non-island) countries in Africa. It also has one of the largest economies on the African continent, based mostly on the export of energy resources. Algeria supplies large quantities of natural gas to Europe, in addition to petroleum. These commodities make up one-third of Algeria’s gross domestic product. As such, the country quickly industrialized after gaining independence from France in 1962. As a result of its rapid industrialization and growth, Algeria cleared all of its debt and invested heavily in infrastructure and social policies
As the country developed over time, its health indicators improved as well. Life expectancy has increased to about 77 years. As the population lives to older ages, non-communicable diseases contribute most to death in Algeria. These include ischemic heart disease, stroke, hypertensive heart disease, chronic kidney disease, congenital defects, diabetes, and COPD. Notably, death due to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease increased by over 60 percent between 2009 and 2019. Other leading causes of death include road injuries, neonatal disorders, and lower respiratory infections. The risk factors driving these leading causes of death include high blood pressure, high body-mass index, high fasting plasma glucose, malnutrition, dietary risks, tobacco use, air pollution, high LDL, kidney dysfunction, and occupational risks.
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