TALLINN - The Estonian government on Thursday supported the National Health Plan 2020-2030 public health development plan for the next decade submitted by Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik and will send it to Riigikogu for discussion before approving it conclusively.
The main objective of the public health policy is to increase the life expectancy of and the number of years lived healthy by Estonian people and to reduce inequality in health.
"Good health is our nation's most important asset. The vision document approved today helps us to preserve and promote the health of the Estonian people," Prime Minister Juri Ratas said. "Good public health is important not only for social well-being and a fertility rate increase, but also for economic development. The good health of the people of Estonia ensures the sustainability of our country," he added.
The goals of the National Health Plan 2020–2030 are to increase the average life expectancy of Estonian people to 78 years for men and 84 for women by 2030 and to increase the average number of years of healthy life for men to 62 and for women to 63.
The development plan also sets the goal of ensuring that by 2030, no county will have a life expectancy lower than two years below the Estonian average and the life expectancy of people with basic education will not be lagging behind the estimated life expectancy of people with higher education by more than six years.
"The life expectancy of Estonian people has significantly increased in the last decade, but the number years of healthy life have not grown at the same pace, unfortunately," Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said. "The highest number of years are lost to cardiovascular disease, malignant tumors, injuries and mental health problems. These will be priority areas for the next decade where achieving better health outcomes would bring about a positive change in the health of the population as a whole," he added.
The development plan consists of three programs -- human-centered healthcare, health-promoting choices and a health-promoting environment. The health-promoting choice program addresses choices that a person can make to shape their own habits and lifestyle. The health-promoting environment program focuses on the health effects of the environment we live in, including the chemical, physical and biological risks and factors. The human-centered healthcare program focuses on providing safe, high-quality, integrated healthcare and social services that meet people's needs and expectations.
During the drawing up of the development plan, meetings were held with representatives of interest groups and partners. In total, there have been representatives from more than 30 organizations involved in the development process. Representatives of patients, doctors, medical students, nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists, entrepreneurs and traders, the chemical industry, the food industry, pharmacists, health promoters, researchers and local authorities have participated in the discussions.