Country profile

The Republic of Cyprus with a population of over 800,000 inhabitants is the largest island in the eastern Mediterranean and is situated south of Turkey. The island’s main economic activities include tourism, financial services and merchant shipping.

A former British colony it gained independence in 1960 and since then has developed an advanced high income economy with per capita GDP being just above the average for the European Union (GDP per capita in 2018 is $28,682.36 est.). In 2015, Cyprus spent EUR 1 592 per capita on health care, compared with the EU average of EUR 2 797. Total health spending was 6.8% of GDP in 2015, of which nearly half is financed out-of-pocket on a fee-for-service basis. The government spent 7.1% of its total budget on health in 2015, the lowest share in the EU. Life expectancy at birth was 81.8 years in 2015, up from 77.7 years in 2000 and above the EU average.

In 2004 Cyprus became a member of the EU, and in January 2008 joined the Euro.


Policy responses

In general, tackling health inequalities is an issue addressed by the Cypriot government on a cross-sectoral basis with policies taking into account the need to focus on the most socially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. The Ministry of Health within Cyprus places great importance on the need to address inequalities in health and looks to provide a variety of services and interventions which are accessible to the whole population. However, wide inequalities exist by education level. The lowest educated are three times more likely to live with a chronic disease and five times more likely to live with depression. The publicly funded health system does not provide courage to all Cypriots. Entitlements to free service is dependent on income levels with varying eligibility criteria to chronic diseases.

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 Cyprus working on health inequality issues:

  • Research Unit in Behaviour and Social Issues (RUBSI) The Unit’s mission is to improve the understanding of the processes and mechanisms which influence the health and well-being of the Cypriot population. It aims to contribute to the body of knowledge that informs the development of health policy, education and practice in health interventions.
  • The Mediterranean Institute of Gender StudiesThe Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies is a non-profit organisation which promotes and contributes to projects of social, political, and economic themes relating to gender with an emphasis on the Mediterranean region.

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Key resources

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

Are you aware of any other key resources that should be added to this list?
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