Health in Libya
A health care crisis currently exists in Libya due to the ongoing revolution.
There has been a crisis in the health system in Libya in the past three years following the Libyan Revolution. Prior to the Libyan Revolution, health, training, rehabilitation, education, housing, family issues, and disability and old-age benefits were all regulated by “Decision No. 111” (dated December 9, 1999) of the General People’s Committee on the Promulgation of the By-Law Enforcement Law No. 20 of 1998 on the Social Care Fund. The health care system is not purely state-run; there are very small private hospitals in some areas. In comparison to other states in the Middle East, the health status of the population is above average. Childhood immunization is almost universal. The clean water supply has increased and sanitation has been improved. The country’s major hospitals are in Tripoli and Benghazi.
The number of medical doctors and dentists reportedly increased sevenfold between 1970 and 1985, producing a ratio of one doctor per 673 citizens. In 1985 about one-third of the doctors in the Libya were native-born, with the remainder being primarily expatriate foreigners. The number of hospital beds tripled in this same time period. Among major health hazards endemic in the country in the 1970s were typhoid and paratyphoid, infectious hepatitis, leishmaniasis, rabies, meningitis, schistosomiasis, venereal diseases, and the principal childhood ailments. Malaria has been eradicated, and significant progress has been made against trachoma and leprosy. In 1985 the infant mortality rate was 84 per 1,000; by 2004, the U.S. Agency for International Development estimated that the infant mortality rate had dropped to 25.7 per 1,000. Other estimates report an infant mortality rate of less than 20 per 1,000. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases are estimated at 7,000 and derive primarily from drug use. Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis has begun to emerge among the population of drug users.
The first medical school was established in 1970, with a school of dentistry following not long after in 1974.