Finland - Health

In Finland, the local authorities are responsible for the majority of health services. The entire population is covered by health insurance, which includes compensation for lost earnings and treatment cost. This program is run by the Social Insurance Institution and is supplemented by private services. In 1991, a new Private Health Care Act took effect to enhance the quality of services provided.

In 1989, there were 7,067 pharmacists; in 1990, there were 49,861 nurses, 34,212 practical nurses, and 6,232 physical therapists. In 1991 there were 539 midwives. Between 1990 and 1997, Finland had approximately 4,545 dentists and a nurse-to- doctor ratio of 4 to 3. In 1990, there were an estimated 440 hospitals (including 57 mental facilities and 40 private institutions) with just over 67,000 total beds. This number declined by around one-third during the 1990s. The average length of a hospital stay decreased by about 40%. As of 1999, there were an estimated 3.1 physicians and 7.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people.

Health care, safe water, and sanitation are available to 100% of the population. As of 1999, an estimated 6.8% of the GDP went to health expenditures. In the same year, roughly 43% of all health care funding came from municipalities, 18% from states, 15% from the national insurance program, and about 24% from private sources.

From 1980 to 1993, 80% of married women (ages 15 to 49) were using contraceptives. The fertility rate was 1.7 children per woman throughout her childbearing years in 1999. In 1997, one-year-old children were vaccinated against the following diseases: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 100%; polio, 99%; and measles, 98%. In 1999, there were 12 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people. Also as of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 1,100 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at fewer than 100. HIV prevalence was0.03 per 100 adults.

The death rate was 9.7 per 1,000 in 1999 and the infant mortality rate was 4 per 1,000, one of the world's lowest. Heart disease among men is high relative to other European countries and diseases of the circulatory system causes about half of all deaths in the country, with cancer being the second leading cause of death. The likelihood of dying after age 65 from heart disease was 366 per 1000 men and 351 per 1000 women in 1990–93. There were 22,827 deaths from cardiovascular disease in 1994. Life expectancy in 2000 was 77 years.

While female health is good by international standards, male mortality in the over-25 age bracket is much higher in Finland than in most industrial countries. The main reason for the excessive male death rate is cardiovascular disease. In 1994, 27% of men and 10% of women smoked. Tobacco consumption decreased from 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs) in 1984–86 to 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) a year per adult in 1995. There were 231 cases of AIDS in 1996. As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 1,100 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at fewer than 100. HIV prevalence was 0.05 per 100 adults. There has been an increase in suicide among young men. Alcohol-related problems are also on the increase.

In 1994, Finland became the first country to eradicate indigenous cases of measles, German measles, and mumps. The diseases have disappeared except for a small number of cases brought in from abroad.

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