In Iceland, the Minister of Health and Social Security is ultimately responsible for the administration of health services. The health care system is universal, comprehensive and mostly financed by general taxation. The most frequent cause of death in Iceland is cardiovascular diseases. At the 2013 World Health Assembly, the Icelandic delegation identified ageing, noncommunicable diseases, the health impact of climate change, and emergency preparedness as focus areas.

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Helga Rósa Masdottir – emergency care nurse coordinator in Iceland

Helga Rósa Masdottir has always had a strong work ethic. “My first posting as a nurse was at Neskaupstaður, in the far east of Iceland, a place of fjords and mountains. Together with two newly graduated friends, I worked in the only hospital in the area which was a port of call for sailors and seafarers. Patients who could not be treated at our hospital were driven to the nearest airport, which was an hour away, to take the hour-long flight to the capital Reykjavik,” she remembers.

Data and statistics


Estimated life expectancy, (World Health Report) (as of 2011)

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Small countries initiative

WHO established the small countries initiative so that countries in the WHO European Region with a population of less than 1 million people can share their knowledge on implementing Health 2020

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