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Icelandic Online Dictionary and Readings

Carry On Icelandic: Culture [selections] (2004)

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Heilbrig­ismßl - Public Health

Heilbrig­ismßl

┴ sÝ­ari hluta 19. aldar og alla 20. ÷ldina lengdist me­alŠvi ═slendinga til mikilla muna. Um mi­ja 19. ÷ld var me­alŠvi Ýslenskra karla a­eins um 32 ßr og kvenna um 38 ßr. Um mi­ja 20. ÷ld voru t÷lurnar komnar Ý 71 og 75 ßr og ßri­ 1990 var me­alŠvi karla 75 ßr og kvenna 80 ßr. StˇrstÝgar framfarir Ý heilsugŠslumßlum ßsamt bŠttum a­b˙na­i, tryggari afkomu og bŠttu matarŠ­i eru samverkandi ■Šttir sem stu­lu­u a­ ■essari miklu breytingu.

Color photograph

Hjartaskur­a­ger­ ß LandspÝtalanum-Hßskˇlasj˙krah˙si (Heart surgery being performed at the LandspÝtali-Hßskˇlasj˙krah˙s Hospital).

Markmi­ stjˇrnvalda Ý heilbrig­ismßlum eru sett fram Ý sex li­um: 1) a­ veita brß­a■jˇnustu ßn tafar, 2) a­ sinna heilsuvernd og heilsugŠslu, 3) a­ veita sÚrhŠf­a ■jˇnustu Ý hßum gŠ­aflokki ■egar hennar er ■÷rf, 4) a­ veita samfellda ■jˇnustu, 5) a­ ■jˇnustan taki mi­ af ■÷rfum allrar ■jˇ­arinnar og 6) a­ jafnrŠ­i rÝki milli allra ■jˇ­fÚlags■egna.

┴hersla er l÷g­ ß a­ tryggja a­gang alls almennings a­ heilbrig­is■jˇnustu ßn tillits til efna og a­stŠ­na einstaklinga og fj÷lskyldna. Almannatryggingar eru hugsa­ar sem ÷ryggisnet er tryggi ÷llum ■ennan a­gang.

Heilbrig­iskerfi­ er dřrt og kostna­ur vi­ ■a­ hefur veri­ vaxandi ß undanf÷rnum ßratugum. HŠkkandi me­alaldur ■jˇ­arinnar veldur ■essu, auk st÷­ugt fullkomnari og dřrari tŠkja til sj˙kdˇmsgreininga og lŠkninga. Ůß eru sÝfellt a­ koma ß marka­ nř, betri og dřrari lyf.

Mikil umrŠ­a hefur fari­ fram ß ═slandi, sem vÝ­a annars sta­ar, um kostna­ Ý heilbrig­iskerfinu. Ekki fara alltaf saman hugmyndir og a­ger­ir stjˇrnvalda Ý ■eim efnum og sko­anir ■eirra sem starfa ß vettvangi og ■eirra sem sŠkja ■jˇnustuna. Miki­ er tala­ um sparna­ og a­haldsa­ger­ir stjˇrnvalda eru gagnrřndar. ١ er heilbrig­is■jˇnusta ß ═slandi me­ ■vÝ sem best gerist Ý heiminum. Sj˙krah˙s eru b˙in fullkomnustu tŠkjum og vel menntu­u starfsli­i og fj÷ldi heilsugŠslust÷­va tryggir grei­an a­gang a­ lŠknis■jˇnustu.

Public Health

In the second part of the nineteenth-century and throughout the twentieth-century, Icelanders' average lifespan increased greatly. In the mid nineteenth-century, the average lifespan of Icelandic men was only 32 years, and for women about 38 years. In the middle of the twentieth-century, these statistics had become 71 and 75 years, and in 1990 the average male lifespan was 75, and for women 80 years. Great strides in areas of health care together with improved living conditions, a more secure employment situation, and better diet have combined to create this considerable change.

The aims of authorities in the public health system are set out in six divisions: 1) to provide emergency assistance without delay, 2) to work for the maintenance of good health care and medical centres, 3) to provide specialist care of a high quality when it is needed, 4) to provide continuous care, 5) that the service take account of the needs of all Icelanders, 6) to distribute the resources equally between all citizens.

Emphasis is laid on ensuring access by all the general public to the public health service without consideration of the wealth or circumstances of the individual and family. Social security is thought of as a safety net which guarantees access for all.

The health system is expensive and the costs associated with it have been increasing in recent decades. An increase in the average age of the population is responsible for this as well as steady improvements, and more expensive equipment, in diagnosis and treatment. Further, new, better, and more expensive medicine is constantly coming onto the market.

As in many other countries, there has been a lot of debate in Iceland about the cost of the health care system. The ideas and processes adopted by the authorities do not always coincide with the views of those who work in the field or those who seek medical care. There is a lot of discussion about cost cutting, and the authorities' attempts at rationalization have been criticized. However, health care in Iceland is amongst the world's best. The hospitals are provided with the most advanced equipment and well-trained staff, and the many health centres ensure easy access to medical services.

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