|Health care (or healthcare) is the diagnosis, treatment, and
prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and
mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners
in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied
health, and other care providers. It refers to the work done
in providing primary care, secondary care and tertiary care,
as well as in public health.
Access to health care varies across countries, groups and individuals,
largely influenced by social and economic conditions as well
as the health policies in place. Countries and jurisdictions
have different policies and plans in relation to the personal
and population-based health care goals within their societies.
Health care systems are organizations established to meet the
health needs of target populations. Their exact configuration
varies from country to country. In some countries and jurisdictions,
health care planning is distributed among market participants,
whereas in others planning is made more centrally among governments
or other coordinating bodies. In all cases, according to the
World Health Organization (WHO), a well-functioning health care
system requires a robust financing mechanism; a well-trained
and adequately-paid workforce; reliable information on which
to base decisions and policies; and well maintained facilities
and logistics to deliver quality medicines and technologies.
Health care can form a significant part of a country's economy.
In 2008, the health care industry consumed an average of 9.0
percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) across the most
developed OECD countries. The United States (16.0%), France
(11.2%), and Switzerland (10.7%) were the top three spenders.
Health care is conventionally regarded as an important determinant
in promoting the general health and wellbeing of peoples around
the world. An example of this is the worldwide eradication of
smallpox in 1980ódeclared by the WHO as the first disease in
human history to be completely eliminated by deliberate health
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