Country profile

The Republic of Greece is a parliamentary republic located in south east of Europe with a population of over 10 million inhabitants. It is a developed country with an advanced high-income economy and has very high standards of living. Greece has been a member of the EU since 1981. The Greek economy was severely impacted by the 2008 financial crisis and the cost cutting measures that followed.

Healthcare in Greece is provided by the state through a universal health care system funded mostly through national health insurance, although private health care is also an option. In 2000 the WHO classed the Greek healthcare system as one of the best in the world ranking it 14th in the overall assessment and 11th at quality of service.

Greece is generally described as a welfare state with a social-market economy. Although recent and prospective growth performance is considered to be good, convergence with EU living standards is a major medium-term policy challenge. The economy is characterized by high unemployment rates (a record high 35.7% among young women), low salaries and inflation rates which all lead to important support needs.


Policy responses

The principle of health equity has been high on the agenda of Greek politicians for a number of years. Nevertheless, explicit and specific objectives and policies that address health inequalities have yet to be introduced, apart from sporadic references to them in frameworks of non-health sectors. The health status of the Greek population has generally improved over time, but key health challenges, such as cancer mortality and the impact of heart disease, remain. There is a need to combat an imbalance in distribution of resources. A start has been made with the formulation of the new Primary Care Plan (2017). The plan aims to establish an effective network of first-contact primary care services.

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 Greece working on health inequality issues:


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Key resources

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

  • Socio-economic inequalities in health: a review of the Greek evidence (2005). A survey reviewing the existing theoretical and empirical findings on health inequalities in Greece, the indicators applied and the methodological problems encountered in the existing literature. The study aims to inform both the researcher and the policy maker about the state of knowledge regarding the effects of socioeconomic and occupational status on health.

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

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