Country profile

Romania is a unitary semi-presidential republic in southeast Europe. It is ninth largest country of the European Union by area, and has the one of the largest populations of the European Union with 19.9 million people. In 1989 Romania began its transition towards democracy and a capitalist market economy. Extensive reforms fostered economic recovery making Romania now an upper middle-income country with high human development, with a nominal per capita GDP of $26,498 (2018 est.).. Romania joined the European Union in 2007.

Life expectancy at birth was 75.0 years in 2015, up from 71.2 years in 2000. On average, the life expectancy of university-educated Romanians is six years higher than those with no more than lower secondary education. Although people are living longer, coverage is not universal and socioeconomic inequalities in health persist. Per capita health spending of EUR 814 in 2015 is the lowest in the EU. This equals 4.9% of GDP. More than 40% of the overall burden of disease in Romania in 2015 (measured in terms of DALYs) could be attributed to
behavioural risk factors, including smoking and alcohol use, as well as dietary risks and low physical activity


Policy responses

The issue of health inequalities are currently high on the political agenda within Romania. The overall Romanian policy response is mainly driven at a national level. The policies are designed at the national level, and then applied at the regional and local level. Almost all policies addressing health issues are still under the direct responsibility of the Ministry of Health, though awareness of health issues is being raised among other sectors as a result of dialogue among different ministries encouraged by the establishment of inter-ministries committees, which foster cross-governmental collaboration.

There are, however, a number of initiatives to improve the health system. Romania’s National Health Strategy sets out strategic objectives in the areas of public health and health care services, and is supported by the development of eight regional plans to re-organise health services and direct investment towards disadvantaged areas. A National Authority for Quality Management in Health Care has been established and the new government is addressing the conditions of the health workforce and access to medicines.

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 Romania working on health inequality issues:

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Key resources

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

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