Liechtenstein is a small nation in Western Europe, between Switzerland and Austria. The country has a universal healthcare system that covers not only citizens but everyone residing within its borders. Moreover, the healthcare standard is high, well-developed and the citizens suffer from few communicable diseases. Here are six facts about healthcare in Liechtenstein.
6 Facts About Healthcare in Liechtenstein
- Liechtenstein is not a member of the World Health Organization. This is because membership in the WHO is expensive and with such a small amount of citizens and land — the country cannot afford to be a member. However, the country is a member of the United Nations and is committed to improving healthcare around the world. They have signatory and ratification status to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and have submitted Confidence Building Measures for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
- There is only one hospital in Liechtenstein. Known as the National Hospital, it is located in the capital of Vaduz. The hospital provides basic services to the country’s citizens. However, for more advanced care, citizens must travel to nearby hospitals in Switzerland or Austria, which notably have agreements with the Liechtenstein government. Additionally, the country’s Federal Office of Public Health is responsible for monitoring the Liechtenstein healthcare system and communicating important information to the public.
- Although Liechtenstein has a well-developed healthcare system, it ranks average among other nations. According to the Global Health Security Index, the country is 60th in immunization, 161st in laboratory systems and 76th in risk communication. However, it is strong in other areas, as it ranks 36th in its epidemiology workforce, 6th in infection control practices and availability of equipment and 14th in capacity to test and approve new medical countermeasures.
- Everyone older than the age of 16 must have health insurance in Liechtenstein. The constitution guarantees a state-run, healthcare system. As a result, either private insurance, employers or the government provides health insurance.
- Liechtenstein has a strong history of establishing a state-run, healthcare system in the country. Starting in 1874, the country’s first healthcare law set out the duties of the national doctor and the national veterinarian. Additionally, the country’s constitution specifically enumerates fighting alcoholism and caring for the sick as significant responsibilities. Furthermore, multiple laws necessitate providing healthcare in schools.
- Currently, the top and most common health concerns in the country are complications from air pollution, COVID-19 and STDs. A less common health concern, though still important, is tick-borne encephalitis, which is prevalent in the area of Vaduz.
A Semi-Outsourced System
As a whole, Liechtenstein has a sufficient healthcare system and resources to care for its citizens. However, because the country is so small and its reach is limited by the number of healthcare professionals in the country — Liechtenstein will continue to struggle to reach the success of other developed countries. Currently, the country has been successful in containing the new coronavirus with such a small population. Yet, for finding success in other medical areas, Liechtenstein has resorted to engaging with other governments like Switzerland and Austria through contracts to meet the needs of its citizens.
– Julia Canzano
Photo: Wikimedia Commons