A brief history of the health services in Norway
During the years between the wars (1918 – 1940) the public health services in Norway were improved. Public health clinics were set up which carried out health checks and preventative health work. Most of the work was carried out on a voluntary basis by women. More doctors and nurses were trained and hygiene became a subject taught in schools.
The authorities informed the population about tuberculosis and other common diseases, and people learnt more about the importance of cleanliness and how to avoid infections. One of the many things the authorities did was to start a campaign against spitting! Other measures included campaigns to get people to eat more nutritious food.
Today, a great deal of attention is paid to what good health actually means. We possess a lot of information and knowledge about the relationship between what we eat, lifestyle and health. A wide range of medicines and treatments also exist that can either cure or make it easier to live with some illnesses. New medicines are constantly being developed and illnesses for which there was previously no cure can often be cured now. One example of such illnesses is cancer.
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Discuss the development of health in Norway over the last 100 years. Compare this with your homeland.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines good health as follows: “Health is not just the absence of disease or infirmity, but it is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing.” Discuss this definition. Is it possible to achieve good health if we take the WHO’s definition as our starting point?
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