Health care is administered under state auspices and all medical and hospital services are free. The government gives special priority to increasing the number of physicians and other health personnel and expanding facilities in rural areas. Each province has at least two hospitals and each agricultural cooperative and state farm has a medical station. As of 1999, there were an estimated 2.4 physicians and 11.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people. During 1990–95, most Mongolians had access to health services (95%). In 2000, 60% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 30% had adequate sanitation. Health expenditures were 4.7% of the GDP in 1990–97.
Average life expectancy in 2000 was an estimated 67 years (up from 45 years in 1950). Pulmonary and bronchial infections, including tuberculosis and brucellosis, are widespread but are being brought under control through the use of ayrag , an indigenous drink brewed from horse milk and possessing demonstrated healing qualities. Cholera, smallpox, typhus, and other epidemic diseases have been virtually eliminated. In 1990– 94, immunization rates for children up to one year of age were as follows: tuberculosis, 90%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 78%; polio, 87%; and measles, 80%. As of 1999, rates for DPT and measles were, respectively, 94% and 93%.
The general mortality rate was estimated at seven per 1,000 people as of 2002. In 2000 the infant mortality rate was 56 per 1,000 live births. At least 30.4% of children in 1996 had goiter. About 25% of children under five years of age were malnourished in 1999 and 11% of births were of low birth weight. Maternal mortality in 1995 was 65 per 100,000 live births. The total fertility rate decreased steadily from 5.4 in 1980 to 2.6 per woman in 1999.
As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at fewer than 100.