The Republic of Lithuania is a country in northern European with an estimated population of 2.9 million inhabitants. The Lithuanian president is elected directly for a five-year term and is active principally in foreign and security policy. The uni-cameral Lithuanian Parliament, the Seimas, has 141 members. Lithuania declared independence in 1990 and joined the EU in 2004. Pprior to the economic crisis of 2007 – 2010 had one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. Lithuania has a with a nominal per capita GDP of $34,596 (2018 est.).
Life expectancy in Lithuania is the lowest in the EU, six years below the EU average. Life expectancy for men is nearly 11 years lower than for women, the largest gender gap in the EU. Lithuanians consume more alcohol than any other people in the EU. Excessive alcohol consumption is especially common among men and adolescents. Alcohol-related deaths are more than two times greater than the EU average. Health expenditure per capita in Lithuania is half the EU average. One-third of health spending comes from private sources – largely out-of-pocket payments.
Health inequalities are on the political agenda in Lithuania, with awareness and understanding of the issue among politicians increasing. This is mainly due to European policies and directives that have been put in place, together with WHO advocacy and guidance. Whilst there is no single action plan in place to address the issue of health inequalities there are several cross-sectoral action plans addressing the issue either directly or indirectly which were initiated by either the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Since 2014 a range of different measures have been adopted to reduce health inequalities.
The Action Plan for Reducing Health Inequalities in Lithuania for 2014-2023 (approved by the Health Minister’s Order No. V-815 dated of 16 July, 2014). The main purpose of this plan is to reduce heath inequalities among certain Lithuanian regions and different population groups of various socioeconomic status. The Plan consist of 7 Annexes, each of which describes set of activities in a priority field of actions: to improve TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment efficiency; to improve prevention, treatment and accessibility of social integration services for those, addicted to alcohol and other psychoactive substances users; to improve injury and accident prevention and to reduce disability and mortality from external causes; to reduce the morbidity and premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases; to reduce the morbidity and premature mortality from cerebrovascular diseases; to improve access to effective health care for disabled; to improve Children’s health promotion, disease prevention and effective treatment.
The Lithuanian Health Strategy for 2014-2025 (approved by the Parliament Resolution No XII-964 dated of 26 June 2014). The main objective of the strategy – to improve the country’s population health, increase average life expectancy and reduce health disparities by 2025. The Program sets four objectives: to create a safer social environment, to reduce health inequalities and social exclusion; to develop healthy working and living environment; to create a culture of healthy living; to ensure quality and effectiveness of healthcare system, oriented towards the population needs.
An overview of policy responses addressing health inequalities in can be found in our Policy Database.
An overview of projects and initiatives that are currently taking place or that have successfully been finalized, and that are addressing health inequality issues, can be found in our Project Database.
Please find below an overview of key actors in Lithuania working on health inequality issues:
- Ministry of Health. The website of the Ministry of Health publishes relevant and useful information about the health system of Lithuania, the organisation of health care in the country and the key decisions of health policy makers.
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Please find below an overview of relevant documents addressing health inequality issues in Lithuania. Further publications can be found in our Publications Database.
- Fruit & vegetable in schoolchild’s menu: dieting & social inequalities during 2002 – 2010 in Lithuania (2011)
- Inequalities in life expectancy of Lithuanian males and females and contribution of major causes of death (2010)
- The Action Plan for Reducing Health Inequalities in Lithuania
Are you aware of any other key resources that should be added to this list?
Please let us know!