Malnutrition (exacerbated by prolonged drought), influenza, and malaria are the major health problems in Cape Verde. The Portuguese government carried out a program of smallpox, yellow fever, and tuberculosis prevention throughout the 1960s. In 1986, there were two hospitals and 60 dispensaries. In the 1990s there were 1.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people. In 1996 there were 0.2 physicians, 0.6 nurses, and 0.02 dentists per 1,000 people.
There was an estimated birth rate of 27.8 per 1,000 people in 2002 and average life expectancy was 69.5 years. The overall death rate was 7 per 1,000, and the infant mortality rate was 51.9 per 1,000 live births. In 1990, there were 220 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 inhabitants and from 1991 to 1994, 83% of children had been vaccinated against measles. As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 775 and deaths from AIDS as of 2001 were estimated at 225.