The origin of health care, or more precisely – medicine, as an independent, separate type of activity refers to the period of origin of people, humanity. The field of life skills and practical skills generated by them, known as healing, was initially born in the form of self-healing, inherited by man from the animal world.
The struggle for existence and survival produces in living organisms the functions of active adaptation to the environment, behavior that protects against diseases, the use of certain plant species and even elements of inorganic nature as medicines. Primordial humans first subconsciously and then consciously began to use methods and means of health protection, which may well be called cures.
Gradually separate, apparently gifted, individuals, and then groups of people began to stand out, for whom healing became a kind of constant and even basic activity – witch doctors in the community, the tribe. The art of healing, healing at a time when there was no medical one yet.
There is no doubt that the formation and development of medicine, health care as a science, professional activity and branch of economy was and still is closely connected with economic opportunities of a person, family, society.
As soon as medical activity has acquired a mass scale, buildings, constructions, equipment, production and application of medicines, implementation of treatment processes on the basis of improved technologies, the costs of treatment become a significant expenditure item of the society. The economy of health care acquires visible features in material and financial and monetary aspects.
At the same time it is lawful to speak about origin of public health services as special, independent, allocated branch of human and simultaneously economic activity only in interrelation with occurrence of statehood. It is the state with its inherent attributes in the form of
State services and regulations, money, treasury, taxes were the impetus for the formation of health care as an economic sector. The state health care as the largest part of the social sphere of economy, the basis of the branch of medical services, the source of resource support of health protection also originated within the state.
The participation of the state in the protection of public health in the form of state medical institutions and financial support of medicine as a whole led to the fact that three leading economic structures were represented in the emerging branch of health care: state, church and private medicine. This division has been maintained to a certain extent.
Characteristically, public health has manifested itself in such forms of structuring of the industry and the allocation of new areas of health care economy, such as military, palace, and then other types of departmental medicine.
The expansion of types and scale of medical activities observed in all countries, leading to the formalization of health care as a branch of economy, was accompanied by the formation of the market of medical goods and services.
As medical activities became widespread, the labour market of medical workers began to develop, with labour prices characteristic of them and developing intra-industry competition.
The limited availability of health care services at market prices has led socially oriented states, guided by the principles of humanity, to consider medical services as socially important and in need of state support.
The need to provide a significant portion of services to low-income segments of the population at the expense of the state treasury or specially created state social funds formed on the basis of targeted tax payments has predetermined a high degree of state participation in the health sector in all countries.
The importance of health care as a branch of the national economy increased significantly in the centuries due to the need to combat epidemics, infectious diseases, which led to the death of a huge mass of the population of several countries.
In order to counteract this terrible threat, states had to establish sanitary, customs and quarantine services, which led to a significant expansion of the health sector, including sanitation and hygiene, antiepidemic activities.