Libya offers its citizens free health care and social services. When the country became wealthy from oil revenues, the government worked to develop a modern and effective health care system. Although most facilities are public, there are some private clinics in the larger cities.

 The country's two major hospitals are located in Tripoli and Benghazi. They are affiliated with medical schools and specialized institutes that train nurses and medical technicians. The widest range of medical services is found at these hospitals. Smaller towns and villages have medical clinics or small hospitals. Mobile health units travel to rural areas to provide health care.

Libya's health care system has suffered greatly since the 1980s because of the United Nations' sanctions and Libya's isolation from other countries. It became difficult for Libyan health care workers to obtain medicine, surgical supplies and parts to repair medical equipment. Patients could not leave the country to get specialized treatments. 

The effects of the sanctions on basic health care include a lack of vaccines for children, closure of mother-and-child health care centres and the lack of medicine and qualified personnel to treat cancer or heart disease. Although the United Nations' sanctions were partially lifted in 1999, it will take some time before the health care system is fully restored.

Although Libya has a relatively clean water supply and good sanitation facilities, outbreaks of hepatitis A and polio have occurred. Malaria, a disease transmitted by mosquito bites, is a problem in southwestern Libya. In the last few years, there have been reports of HIV and AIDS infection in Libya.

 In addition to health care, Libya has a social security system that provides life insurance, pensions and disability benefits to workers.If a man dies leaving a wife and family, each of his family members receive survivor benefits to help compensate for their loss. When women leave their jobs to give birth, they receive maternity leave and paid benefits.

  Did you know?
Herbal medicine is popular in Libya. Hakims are traditional healers who use natural herbs to treat a variety of ailments.
Women and men in Libya live an average of 70 years. The country's population growth rate is 2.4% per year. Libyan women have an average of four children each. Nearly half the population is under the age of 16.