Erikas Mačiūnas



Entire article covers process of the Public Health risk management development in Lithuania in 1994. The year of 1994 – is actually a milestone when Ministry of Health of Lithuania had changed categories of hygiene service, hygiene control, hygiene surveillance, hygiene expertise, sanitary control, etc., for the concept of public health categories, such as the Public Health Service and Public Health Control. The reason for these changes where, in fact, elaboration of the draft of new Law on Health (later approved by the Parliament as the Law on  National Health System) where those new approaches had been introduced for the first time.

On January 3, 1994, Department of Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Lithuania had started to execute it’s health risk reduction and avoidance functions. One of the major obstacles on this way in 1994 where lack of the concept understanding at decision making level and shortage of appropriate legislative and enforcement documentation.  Situation was stressful and complicated at that time. Public health risk management decision had been usually taken first and then responsible bodies attempted to provide explanation and motivation of those decisions for the public. In terms of retrospective analysis towards the year 1994, one may conclude that overall reform in the field of public health risk management went successfully. However, areas of tobacco and alcohol control as public health risk management tools underwent changes with difficulties facing substantial resistance.

World Health Organization mission in 1994 recommended to go for concerted effort to reach a merge of different public health risk management procedures, namely in environmental impact assessment (EIA), in developing joint activity model and inter- sector  approach between Ministry of Health and the State Department of Environment Protection. Sorry to say, but these endeavours found to be materialized after period of 10 years only, after the Public Health Law and respective by-law acts had been introduced in 2002.

Since 1994 State Chief Medical Hygiene Officer of Lithuania actively facilitated development of the public health risk management system, and consequently  approved a set of more than 10 Norms of Hygiene for different core areas of Environmental Health. For instance,  it covered set-up of vibration limits in Occupational Health, limits for bacterial and non-bacterial contamination in Food Hygiene, limits of different and various contaminants in drinking water and so on.

Keyword(s): Public health risk, public health surveillance, hygienist.
DOI: 10.5200/15
Full Text: PDF