The Ministry of Health has overall responsibility for the health sector, although the Ministry of Defense runs some military hospitals. In 1990, Algeria had 284 hospitals with 60,124 beds (2.4 per 1,000 people; as of 1999 this ratio had declined to an estimated 2.1). There were also 1,309 health centers, 510 polyclinics, and 475 maternity hospitals (64 privately owned) in 1990. Medical personnel included 23,550 doctors, 2,134 pharmacists, and 7,199 dentists. As of 1999, there was an estimated 1 physician per 1,000 people and total health care expenditure was estimated at 3.6% of GDP.
Free medical care was introduced in 1974 under a Social Security system that reimburses 80% of private consultations and prescription drugs.
The principal health problems have been tuberculosis, malaria, trachoma, and malnutrition. By 1999, the incidence of tuberculosis was 45 in 100,000. In 2000, the average life expectancy was 71 years, with a death rate of 5.2 per 1,000 people. Infant mortality in 2000 was 33 per 1,000 live births and the estimated maternal mortality rate as of 1998 was 220 per 100,000 live births. The government is interested in creating public awareness of birth control. As of 2000 an estimated 51% of women ages 15 to 49 were using some form of contraceptive. The total fertility rate decreased to 3.2 in 2000 from 5.0 in 1987. Malnutrition was present in an estimated 18% of all children under the age of five according to the most recent figures available as of 2000. The HIV prevalence among adults in 2000 was only 0.7 per 100 adults. As of early 1995, only 214 AIDS cases were reported.
Algeria's immunization rates as of 1999 for one-year-old children were: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 83%; and measles, 83%. In 2000, 94% of the population had access to adequate sanitation.
Algeria's government has developed plans to boost domestic production of pharmaceuticals as well as to remedy a serious shortage of dentists and pharmacists.