The public health care sector is by far the largest. As of 1993, the country planned to construct 12 new hospital districts, 84 health centers, and 5 technical schools for nurses, and to enlarge or remodel several hospital centers, hospital districts, and maternity wards. The Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon is the largest hospital in Portugal. The number of physicians in Portugal grew steadily throughout the 1990s, to an estimated 29,000 by the end of the decade. Of this number, 35% were general practitioners. In 1996 there were a total of 39,212 hospital beds in the country, of which roughly three-fourths were located in public hospitals. As of 1999, there were an estimated 3.2 physicians and 4 hospital beds per 1,000 people. Also in 1999, total health care expenditure was estimated at 7.7% of GDP.
As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 11.5 and 10.2 per 1,000 people. In 1994, 66% of married women (ages 15 to 49) were using contraception. The infant mortality rate decreased from 61 to 6 per 1,000 live births between 1968 and 2000. Average life expectancy in 2000 was 76 years.
The leading natural causes of death are circulatory disorders, cancer, and respiratory disorders. The incidence of tuberculosis in 1999 was 53 per 100,000 people. In 1997, children up to one year of age were vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 95%, and measles, 99%.
In 1994, there were 42,698 deaths related to cardiovascular disease. The cancer and heart disease rates in Portugal are well below the industrialized countries average. The likelihood of dying after age 65 of heart disease was 182 in 1,000 for men and 187 in 1,000 for women in 1990–93. As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 36,000 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 280. HIV prevalence was0.7 per 100 adults. In 1994, 38% of males and 15% of females over 15 smoked. Tobacco consumption has increased from 1.8 kg (4.0 lbs) in 1984–86 to 2.0 kg (4.4 lbs) a year per adult in 1995.