Major health problems include infant diarrhea and upper respiratory infection caused by poor hygiene, particularly the lack of piped and treated water. Maternal and child health programs have been instituted and include widespread campaigns of inoculation against childhood diseases. As a result, infant mortality in Cape Verde is among the very lowest in the region. Cabo Verde has a relatively low prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Cholera has been known to occur periodically, limited cases of malaria have been noted in Santiago, and leprosy appears from time to time. Dressing stations with a rotating circuit doctor operate in remote areas. Clinics and health posts are operated at the local level with regional hospitals. There are central hospitals in the towns of Mindelo and Praia.
Water for public consumption is supplied either by precipitation, from storage cisterns or deep wells, or, in the larger towns, by desalinization facilities. Some groundwater sources are sulfurous; others, mainly on São Vicente and Boa Vista, are slightly salty because of the low water tables.