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18/03/2015   National Audit Office: there is lack of consistecy in public health promotion services

The average life expectancy rate in Lithuania is among the lowest in Europe. Strengthening and protecting the health of the population is a strategic goal of the state and local authorities. Municipalities, which are responsible for public health promotion and monitoring, received over LTL 13 million in 2014 for the implementation of this function. The National Audit Office assessed whether measures to promote public health are properly planned and effectively implemented.

"Although the goal to promote and protect the health of the population and to create a healthy lifestyle has been provided at the state level, public health promotion lacks consistency and health promotion measures are organised insufficiently efficiently," said Auditor General Giedrė Švedienė commenting on the audit results.

In order to improve access to public health care services and to enhance the implementation of public health promotion measures, municipalities created a network of public health offices. However, population surveys have shown that more than half of the respondents did not know anything about these offices and their services. In addition, it was found that as many as three-quarters of the public health offices do not publish detailed information about health promotion services. Therefore, people who do not know about the offices, who are not able to use the Internet, or do not deliberately look for information about health promotion services have limited access to such services.

Most health promotion services (80 per cent) are provided to children in pre-school education institutions and schools, meanwhile other target groups (especially risk groups) receive insufficient amount of such services. For example, the majority of people who took part in training events on circulatory system diseases were children, although these disease mainly affect middle-aged and older people. Offices are organising health promotion events on a general basis, without specifying the target group (for example, people certain health problems), which are actively attended by health-conscious individuals. Passive persons, with a higher risk of developing certain diseases, are not attracted to these events.

There is no existing practice to direct patients of health care institutions (especially those in certain disease risk groups) to public health offices for health promotion services. As a result, it is not ensured that information on health promotion ways reaches those for whom it is necessary.

Public health offices give advice and lectures on health topics mostly during working hours, which limits access to these measures for working individuals. There is lack of services for adults, seniors, people with disabilities or at social risk.

The auditors found that health promotion services in municipalities are planned improperly, without evaluating the demand for services and setting priorities, objectives and specific measures to achieve them.

The National Audit Office made recommendations to the Ministry of Health on how to enhance public health promotion performed by local authorities and suggestions to municipalities on how to improve the availability and quality of services.

 

Responsible for the information Communication Division
Last updated on 9 April 2015

National Audit Office of Lithuania

Pamėnkalnio St 27, LT-01113 Vilnius, Phone: + 370 5 266 6793, + 370 5 266 6752, Email: nao@vkontrole.lt.