Health facilities and services in Greece were modernized after the Second World War. The World Health Organization has worked with the government to reduce the number of deaths from infectious diseases.

The government maintains social security programs for workers and provides pensions and medical benefits for retired people.All Greeks are entitled to free medical care under the Greek National Health Service. All treatment in state hospitals is free. For immediate routine treatment, Greeks can go to a specialist or a private clinic and pay a fee. Private clinics can usually offer better levels of care.

Health care in Greece is readily available in the larger cities. Many people living in small villages or in rural areas may have to travel a long way to get to a hospital or find medical care. Since 1980, many health centres have been built in the rural areas.

A pharmacy is called a pharmakeío in Greek. Most of the people working in these shops are trained pharmacists who can often recommend remedies for minor illnesses. The shops take turns staying open late at night and on Sundays.

Did you know?

Hippocrates, a statue of whom is shown below, was a doctor who lived in ancient Greece. He wrote about 70 works on medicine and ethics. He also wrote an oath for doctors that is still taken by medical doctors around the world.

Compared to most European countries, Greece has a low birthrate: 10 births for every 1,000 people. In 1997, the rate of infant mortality (the number of babies who die within one year of birth) was 7 for every 1,000 live births, one of the lowest in the world. Life expectancy in Greece is 75.8 years for males and 81.0 years for females.