7. Health and Well-Being
Lithuania has experienced many political, social and economic changes during the last decades, shifting from being a highly centralized republic of the Soviet Union to an independent state with a market economy. When Lithuania was part of the USSR, its heathcare system was reorganized according to the centralised system, which was relatively well funded and the population’s health status was better than in other parts of the USSR. Lithuania moved away from such system funded mainly by local and state budgets to a mixed system, predominantly funded by the National Health Insurance Fund in the late 1990s. The vast majority of Lithuanian health care institutions are non-profit-making enterprises and are complemented by the private sector facilities, providing mostly outpatient services which are paid for. The Ministry of Health also runs a few health care facilities and is involved in the running of the two major Lithuanian teaching hospitals. The health insurance is compulsory for all Lithuanian residents. The social and economic reforms taking place in Lithuania for the last 30 years have been negatively affecting the demographic situation and public health. It is increasingly recognized that greater efforts are needed to prevent ill health and creating wellbeing, especially among those who are most disadvantaged as well as developing e-health services and making health facilities youth-friendly. This process involves developing organizational structures, resources and commitment to improvement in health sector. In the public health policy environment, an increasing emphasis is also placed on developing public health services on the local level.