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A new measure of expected human capital calculated for 195 countries from 1990 to 2016 and defined for each birth cohort as the expected years lived from age 20 to 64 years and adjusted for educational attainment, learning or education quality, and functional health status was published by The Lancet in September 2018. Latvia had the twenty-first highest level of expected human capital with 23 health, education, and learning-adjusted expected years lived between age 20 and 64 years. [1]

As of 2009, there were approximately 8,600 inhabitants of Latvia living with HIV/AIDS, accounting for a 0.7% adult HIV prevalence rate. There were 32,376 (1.44%) individual instances of clinically reported alcoholism in Latvia in 2008, as well as cases of addictions to other substances.[2] The annual number of births per 1,000 adolescent women aged 15 to 19 has declined from 49.9 in 1990 to 17.9 in 2007.[3] In 2005, Latvia had a suicide rate of 24.5 per 100,000 inhabitants (down from 40.7 in 1995), the 7th highest in the world.[4] Latvia achieved a remarkable improvement in infant mortality from 6.2/1000 births in 2012 to 3.9/1000 in 2014.[5][6]

In 2018, the health among Latvian and international medical students studying in Riga was assessed. Latvian students displayed a higher prevalence of anxiety, depressive symptoms and physical symptoms. Latvian students displayed troubles adjusting to stressful life events. Further research to identify whether Latvians have a lower threshold for stressors or whether they are exposed to more stressors than international students should be performed.[7] These stressors could be influenced by the growing social inequality within Latvia. [8]


The Latvian healthcare system is a universal programme, largely funded through government taxation.[9] It is similar to British NHS-type health system with a purchaser-provider split (PPS). After undergoing multiple reforms, a National Health Service (NHS) (Nacionālais veselības dienests (NVD)) type system was established in 2011.[10]

It was among the lowest-ranked healthcare systems in Europe, due to excessive waiting times for treatment, insufficient access to the latest medicines, and other factors.[11] There were 59 hospitals in Latvia in 2009, down from 94 in 2007, and 121 in 2006.[12][13][14]

Since 2012 performance has improved considerably, with a reduction in infant mortality from 6.2 per thousand births to 3.9 in two years.[15]

Corruption is relatively widespread in the Latvian healthcare system, although the situation has improved since the early 1990s. It has been noted that an environment conducive to corruption has been promulgated by low salaries and poorly implemented systemic reforms.[16] This also results in brain drain, mostly to Western EU nations.[citation needed] According to the survey conducted by the Euro health consumer index in 2015 Latvia was among the European countries in which unofficial payments to doctors were reported most commonly.[17]


The notion of mandatory vaccination in Latvia differs from that of other nations. Latvia appears unique in that it compels health care providers to obtain the signatures of those who decline vaccination. Individuals have the right to refuse a vaccination, but if they do so, health providers have a duty to explain the health consequences.[18]

Vaccines that are not mandatory are not publicly funded, so the cost for those must be borne by parents or employers, she adds. Funded vaccinations include tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles, hepatitis B, human papilloma virus for 12-year-old girls, and tick-borne encephalitis until age 18 in endemic areas and for orphans.

Health statistics

Access to health care in Latvia remains limited for a large segment of the population, with large numbers of those on low incomes, reporting unmet needs (above 12%) because of financial constraints, and those with high income are closer to EU average 2.5%.[19]

In OECD statistics only 46% of Latvians reported to be in good health, the second lowest level in the EU by 2015,[10] and the health expenditure per capita ranked 27 out of 30 countries in EU while also being the second lowest after Romania, with the second lowest life expectancy among all EU countries in 2017.[20][19]

In Euro Health Consumer Index, which ranks performance of accessibility, outcome, prevention and pharmaceuticals scores, Latvia ranked in 30th out of 35 countries in overall ranking in 2018.[21] According to OECD Country Health Profile 2019, Leading causes of deaths (approx. 3/4) are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, stroke and heart attack related. In recent years mortality from cancers (prostate, pancreatic, breast) are rising.[19]

Latvia ranked second lowest after Lithuania, between other EU countries in including preventable causes of mortality, and third lowest, after Lithuania and Romania in terms of treatable causes of mortality.[19]

The number of new HIV cases has been rising since 2005 and now is the highest in the EU. In 2017, 19/100 000 population in compared with 5.8/100 000 in the EU.[19]

Latvia had the fourth highest mortality in Europe, at 704 per 100,000 population in 2015, the third highest rate of male smokers - 49%, and the second highest rate of death from injury (55 per 100,000).[22]

Risk factors

The majority of deaths in Latvia can be linked to lifestyle-related risk factors, such as dietary risks (Latvia - 31%, EU - 18%), tobacco usage, alcohol and low physical activity.[19]

According to OECD Country Health Profile 2017, in 2014, 1 in 4 adults in Latvia were daily smokers. About 1 in 5 adults reported heavy alcohol consumption on a regular basis, which was close to average in the EU, but with substantial difference between men (33%) and women (8%).

Obesity rates are the second highest in the EU and on the rise: more than 1 in 5 adults in Latvia was obese in 2014 compared to 1 in 6 in 2008.[10]

In 2017, more than 21% of adults were obese, more than 6% above EU average.[19]

See also

List of hospitals in Latvia.


  1. ^ Lim, Stephen; et, al. "Measuring human capital: a systematic analysis of 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016". Lancet. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Incidence of alcoholism, narcotic and psychotropic substances habit". 22 January 2010. Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  3. ^ "2010 Update for the MDG database:Adolescent birth rate". United Nations. 5 September 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  4. ^ "WHO | Country reports and charts available". 7 December 2009. Archived from the original on 12 June 2005. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Outcomes in EHCI 2015" (PDF). Health Consumer Powerhouse. 26 January 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-06-06. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  6. ^ protez, saç. "protez saç". protez saç. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  7. ^ Rueckert, Kamiar-Kersten; Ancane, Gunta (25 June 2018). "Cross-sectional study among medical students in Latvia: Differences of mental symptoms and somatic symptoms among Latvian and international students". Papers on Anthropology. 27 (1): 47–54. doi:10.12697/poa.2018.2.1.05.
  8. ^ OECD (PDF). OECD ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Latvia's Healthcare System is Funded by General Taxation and All Latvians and Foreign Residents Are Guaranteed Medical Care | Find Articles at BNET". 18 November 2005. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  10. ^ a b c "Latvia: Country Health Profile 2017". Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  11. ^ The Baltic Course – Балтийский курс (14 November 2008). "Latvia has worst health care system in Europe :: The Baltic Course | Baltic States news & analytics". The Baltic Course. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  12. ^ David Jolly (18 June 2009). "Latvian Health Official Resigns Over Cuts". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  13. ^ "The basic indicators of health care, at the end of the year". 22 January 2010. Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  14. ^ "The Baltic States and their health systems – From Soviet to EU". European-Hospital. Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  15. ^ "Outcomes in EHCI 2015" (PDF). Health Consumer Powerhouse. 26 January 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-06-06. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  16. ^ David Hayhurst. "Fighting Corruption in Health Care Services". World Bank. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  17. ^ "Outcomes in EHCI 2015" (PDF). Health Consumer Powerhouse. 26 January 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-06-06. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  18. ^ Walkinshaw E (November 2011). "Mandatory vaccinations: The international landscape". CMAJ. 183 (16): E1167-8. doi:10.1503/cmaj.109-3993. PMC 3216445. PMID 21989473.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g "Latvia: Country Health Profile 2019". Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  20. ^ OECD (2018-11-22). "Health expenditure per capita". Health at a Glance: Europe 2018. Health at a Glance: Europe. pp. 132–133. doi:10.1787/health_glance_eur-2018-29-en. ISBN 9789264303348.
  21. ^ "Euro Health Consumer Index 2018" (PDF). Health Consumer Powerhouse. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  22. ^ Ballas, Dimitris; Dorling, Danny; Hennig, Benjamin (2017). The Human Atlas of Europe. Bristol: Policy Press. p. 66. ISBN 9781447313540.