The Arab Republic of Egypt officially spans two continents: the northeast corner of Africa and the southwest corner of Asia, bordered by the Gaza Strip (Palestine), Israel, the Gulf of Aqaba, the Red Sea, Sudan, and Libya. Several other countries are located in close proximity to Egypt on the other side of the Gulf of Aqaba. Its population of 106.4 million is ethnically homogenous, identifies as overwhelmingly Egyptian, and speaks mostly Arabic, the country’s official language. In some instances, English and French are spoken as well. As much as 90 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim. Much of the population lives within 20 kilometers of the Nile River and the Nile River Delta, leaving large swaths of the country completely uninhabited. About 43 percent of the population live in cities, with 21 million people living in Cairo, the capital. Egypt is unique in that it has one of the longest documented histories of any country, going as far back as the 6th millennium BC.
The history of modern-day Egypt is commonly noted as beginning in 1922, when it gained independence from the British Empire. Since then, Egypt has experienced decades of social and religious upheaval and political unrest, in addition to a social revolution in 2011. As a result, local terrorism continues to be a problem, and economic underdevelopment is pervasive. Rapid population growth of 46 percent between 1994 and 2014 has put considerable stress on the country, affecting jobs, housing, education, sanitation, and healthcare. Unemployment of youth ages 15–24 is particularly high, with males experiencing unemployment rates of 25 percent and women 38 percent.
Since the 1990s, the Egyptian Ministry of Health has increased its expenditure on public health programs, and as a result the number of government health centers, beds in hospitals, doctors, and dentists has increased. In addition to the public health system, there is also a system of Islamic healthcare centers and private clinics, which together have been able to serve most of the population. Most deaths in Egypt are caused by ischemic heart disease, cirrhosis, stroke, road injuries, chronic kidney disease, hypertensive heart disease, lower respiratory infection, diabetes, COPD, and liver cancer. Notably, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and cirrhosis have all increased between 2009 and 2019. In addition, while diarrheal diseases and neonatal disorders have decreased substantially over the same period, they are still considered to be the top causes of death in Egypt. About 32 percent of the population is considered obese, and infectious diseases such as hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and schistosomiasis are prevalent.
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