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The Directorate’s roots go back to 1983 when, under the name of Health Information Unit (HIU), a small team comprising of two nurses and an Administration Officer was set up, primarily to work on the MONICA Survey which was carried out in 1984.  The offices were located in Harper Lane, Floriana. ​It was not until 2001 that there was a return of the health survey function for which the Directorate had been primarily created, with the first edition of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).  A later edition was carried out, in conjunction with most other EU member states in 2008 as part of the European Health Interview Survey project (EHIS) which has now been implemented across Europe with a second wave conducted between 2013 - 2015.

Over the past years the Directorate has been tasked with conducting a number of national health surveys.  Below is a brief outline of each survey with links to the detailed survey pages.

European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) 2019/2020​

The current European Health Interview Survey (EHIS 2019/2020) is being conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) together with the Directorate for Health Information and Research (DHIR) within the Ministry for Health and will take place between November 2019 and March 2020. The outcome of the survey will provide a comprehensive picture of the health of the population of Malta and Gozo allowing identification of current health priority areas.​

Survey on Social Determinants of Health

Whilst other national surveys point towards the existence of sociodemographic inequalities in health in Malta and Gozo, none of them explores the social fabric in high enough detail to allow policy makers to identify the drivers of such inequalities.  This is the first national survey investigating social determinants of health in Malta and Gozo.  The survey instrument will be exploring better the social and economic context of the respondents together with self-reported health status, health behaviours and barriers to health in order to be in a better position to examine health inequalities and locally relevant social determinants of health in Malta.

The second wave of this survey - the EHIS 2014/15 was implemented in accordance with legal requirements as stipulated by the European Commission and provided a meaningful comparison with other member states regarding the health of the nation.

This is the first national survey on sexual knowledge, attitudes and behaviour conducted in Malta amongst the population aged 16 to 40.

This survey collected data on the needs of the Maltese elderly population aged 75+ living within the community.

This pilot study was conducted to test the EHES procedures amongst European countries with the aim of standardising methodological aspects of the survey for future use. A bigger study with the name ‘Saħħtek’, based on the same procedures was conducted at the University of Malta in 2016.​

This is the first round of the EHIS implemented by the EU commisions as the initial step to harmonising the regular collection of health survey data across Europe. During the first wave, 18 member states had completed the survey. 

In 2002 Malta implemented its first National Health Interview Survey.  The aim of the survey was to provide a nation-wide picture of the burden of illness in the population and to investigate the knowledge and behaviours of the Maltese population regarding their health.