The foundation of the health system, including a network of medical services for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, was laid during the prestate period by the Jewish community and the British Mandate authorities, which administered the country from 1918 to 1948.
Thus, when the State of Israel was established, a well-developed medical infrastructure was already functioning, immunization was standard procedure, and frameworks for improving environmental conditions were operative. However, in the early years of statehood, the health services had to readdress some of the problems previously overcome in order to cope with the health needs of hundreds of thousands of refugees from postwar Europe and from Arab countries. This challenge was met through an intensive national effort involving provision of special services as well as a far-reaching plan of health education and preventive medicine.
The country's population is served by an extensive medical network comprising hospitals, outpatient clinics, and centers for preventive medicine and rehabilitation. Hospital care includes highly advanced procedures and techniques, from in vitro fertilization, MRI scans, and complicated brain surgery to bone marrow and organ transplants.
Mother-and-child care centers, for women during pregnancy and children from birth to early childhood, offer prenatal examinations, early detection of mental and physical handicaps, immunizations, regular pediatric check-ups, and health education.