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Priorities of Public Health Care
One of the main tasks of personal and public health care is fostering responsibility of each person for his or her own health. In order to improve the quality and accessibility of public health care services to each citizen of the country the Ministry of Health drafts legal acts and programmes that would encourage local authorities to establish public health offices. The main functions of these offices include co-ordination of implementation of municipal public health programmes, monitoring trends in health condition changes of the municipal population, support and coordination of public health education and encouragement of the community involvement in solving public health problems.
Priorities of public health care
Concerns about people‘s health and well-being is the aim of social and economic development of each state. Following international experience Lithuania gradually and purposefully implements the public health policy.
Its goal is to ensure an effective functioning of the system of disease prevention and control, health education and the development of information systems, to encourage professional advancement of public health care specialists and to implement the reform of the public health system in compliance with the requirements of EU legal acts.
One of the main priorities in public health sector is improvement of mental health. In order to ensure psychosocial well-being of people and more versatile assistance to persons with problems of mental health the Strategy on Mental Health of Lithuania is being developed. A particular attention will be given for children‘s mental health. Lithuania will implement the project “Mental Health of Children and Teens after the EU Enlargement: Development of Effective Policy and Practices” funded from EU structural funds.
In order to strengthen health of children and youth much attention will be given to the health care reform in schools, activities of schools strengthening health will be developed. The goal of health care in schools is to help school children to preserve and strengthen their health, to implement measures related to prevention of diseases and traumas.
Public health care specialists or community nurses that completed the special health education programme for schools work in Lithuanian schools. Health care professionals working together with teachers, parents and specialists of psychological and social assistance can help a young individual to form a positive view to his or her health as the most precious value, to encourage children and adolescents to preserve and improve their health, to attain skills of better living and to realize their role in the society.
Traumata and accidents, the group taking the third place among all death reasons in Lithuania prevention is chosen as one of priority areas. In 2006 the second stage of State Traumatism Prevention Program 2000-2010 is
being developed. After establishing its’ measures observation system of traumata and accidents and EU norms regarding pre-inpatient and inpatient help providing methods (ATLS®, PHTLS®) will be introduced.
Seeking to reduce mortality and disability of people that have sustained severe traumata, the complex help system for people who sustained severe injuries, using EU structural funds (2007-2013) allots will be established while investing to health care institutions that function as Centres of Traumata and infrastructure of emergency medical aid.
Another important task is to preserve and strengthen people’s health: it is provided to implement educational measures of healthy lifestyle that encourages physical exercises, healthier food and refusal of bad habits.
After Lithuanian Parliament had ratificated Word Health Organization‘s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the National Programme for Tobacco Control was revised. The results of the poll conducted in the country in 2005 showed that 74.7% of the Lithuanian population are against smoking in restaurants, cafes, bars and other public premises.
Considering the opinion of country‘s population, the Ministry of Health proposes to amend the provisions of the Law on Tobacco Control and according to it from 2007 January the first to prohibit smoking in public catering premises.
The goal of implementation of the measures of the National Drug Control and Drug Addiction Prevention Programme for 2004 – 2008 is to reduce the use of narcotic and psychoac tive substances. Measures of medical, psychological and social rehabilitation services that have been started to implement for children using psychoactive substances would enable to develop the provision of efficient and research-based services not only to children but also for their families.
At growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world, it is very important to protect the society from spread of this infection. Currently the National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Programme for 2003-2008 is implemented which aim is to remain a country of low HIV/AIDS spread until 2010.
People‘s health and quality of life is related to a clean and sustainable environment determined by physical, social, psychological and even aesthetical factors. In 2003, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved the National Environmental Health Action Programme for 2003-2006 which aim is to ensure that an environment would not pose a threat to people‘s health and in such a way to improve health of the Lithuanian population.
Following the provisions of the EURATOM Treaty and the guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Law on Management of Radioactive Waste, the Law on Nuclear Energy and other laws that regulate requirements for radiation and nuclear protection have been adopted. In order to protect people from negative effects of ionizing radiation the state supervises and controls activities with sources of ionizing radiation and monitors individual exposure, exposure of a work place, foodstuffs, construction materials and natural exposure.
Reduction of communicable diseases remains one of the priority fields of the public health sector. Implementing the National Immunoprophylaxis Programme, during the last decade morbidity by whooping-cough, measles, epidemic parotitis and rubella significantly decreased and cases of congenital rubella syndrome or newborn tetanus were not recorded, morbidity by hepatitis B is decreasing. In addition, Lithuania has started to implement the computerized system of notification about communicable diseases which will be connected to the EU Network of Communicable Diseases.
Nutrition of the country‘s population is another field of concern. In order to improve knowledge of a society on healthy nutrition and to form skills of healthy nutrition, the National Food and Nutrition Strategy is implemented which main goal is to strengthen health of the population and to reduce diseases spreading due to improper nutrition.
Due to the aim to prevent life and health of Lithuanian population form the negative impact of noise the 25th of June, 2002 European Parliament and Council Directive 2002/49/ EB, devoted to evaluation and management environmental noise, has been implemented, and the Ministry of Health was initiating the preparation of the Noise Management and Prevention, which in 2004 was approved by the Seimas of Lithuania. The State Noise Strategic Cartography programme, which provides possibilities to evaluate the main impact of noise that comes from transport and industrial objects on population (especially on schools and hospitals areas) of the biggest
Lithuanian towns, was prepared and approved. The State Noise Prevention Programme, which aimed on diminishing of negative noiseimpact (according noise related diseases) is being prepared. In 2006 the Noise Prevention Council started its work, together with other sectors the conclusions about noise regulations and the implementation of noise prevention programmes are provided to the Government.
One of the most important common tasks of individual and public health care is implementation of prevention programmes of chronic diseases. Also, the community health promotion and the healthy lifestyle education
programmes are being implemented.