Country profile

The Republic of Croatia is a central and southeastern European country. A parliamentary democracy, established by the Constitution of 22 December 1990, with local government organized on two levels: 21 counties (including the capital Zagreb) at a higher level, and 127 cities and 429 municipalities at a lower level. Croatia suffered significant demographic and economic losses during the War of Independence (1991–1995). Croatia has a population of approximately 4.3 million. The economy relies heavily upon the service and industrial sector as well as agriculture and tourism. On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the 28th Member State of the EU.

Since declaring independence in 1991 Croatia has greatly improved human development and income equality, and ranks high among central European nations in terms of education, health, quality of life, and economic dynamism. Croatia provides a universal health care system and free primary and secondary education.


Policy responses

Health inequalities have not been high on the political agenda as the recognition of the issues involved and solutions required differs among politicians. The centralised system means that the policy responses that have been implemented are devised at the national level. During the last decade a number policy measures have been introduced that relate to health promotion and disease prevention.

  • National Health Strategy 2012-2020
  • Strategic Action Plan for the Development of Public Health 2013-2015
  • Healthcare measures program 2006
  • The National Programme „Living Healthy“
  • National Healthcare programme for persons with diabetes 2015-2020
  • Strategic Action plan for the reduction of excessive salt intake in Croatia 2015-2019
  • National Strategy for Prevention of Harmful Use of Alcohol and Alcohol related diseases 2011-2016
  • Act on the Restriction of the Use of Tobacco Products
  • Start your heart-save your life programme
  • National Roma Plan
  • Action Plan for strengthening Tobacco control 2013-2016


The National Health Care Strategy 2012-2020 focuses on prevention in health, which can only be achieved by a progressive increase of prevention programs and activities in the health care budget. This Strategy proposes to encourage prevention activities in all areas and all levels of health care, especially in places where there is a big potential to strengthen prevention (Primary Healthcare Teams, Home Care Services), and where prevention activities where not carried out sufficiently so far (e.g. Pharmacies).

The National Programme ‘Living Healthy’ has been designed with five components covering three priority areas: 1) physical health, i.e. healthy eating habits, physical activity, obesity prevention, 2) mental health, 3) sexual health, and are conducted in the community with active participation of children and young people, adults, working-age people and older people in the Republic of Croatia. Special emphasis is put on kindergartens, schools, work environment, food industry.

National Strategy for the Rights of Children in the Republic of Croatia for the period from 2014 to 2020 is a fundamental document which promotes a comprehensive and integrative approach to children’s rights.  The purpose is to achieve more effective promotion and protection of children’s rights in the Republic of Croatia through the implementation of existing international and national standards in the field of children’s rights, and integrative access to children’s rights. According to indicators of health, health risks, habits and challenges among the priority areas in improving services for children in the health care system is prevention of excessive body mass with goal: to prevent the development and consequences of overweight and obesity in children and youth.



An overview of policy responses addressing health inequalities in can be found in our Policy Database.


Good practices

An overview of projects and initiatives that are currently taking place or that have successfully been finalized, and that are addressing health inequality issues, can be found in our Project Database.

Key actors

Please find below an overview of key actors in Croatia working on health inequality issues:

  • Croatian National Institute of Public Health (CNIPH). The Centre covers all the aspects of communicable and non-communicable diseases, social medicine, school medicine, drug addiction prevention, environmental health and microbiology as well as risk assessments in all these areas.

Are you aware of any other key actors that should be added to this list?
Please let us know!


Key resources

Please find below an overview of relevant documents addressing health inequality issues in Croatia. Further publications can be found in our Publications Database.

Are you aware of any other key resources that should be added to this list?
Please let us know!

Start typing and press Enter to search