Estonian health system review shows great progress and opportunities for improvement

The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies has released a new health system review (HiT) on Estonia, highlighting the remarkable progress Estonia has made over the years, as well as identifying several opportunities for improvement.

Some of the most compelling examples of progress and achievement include the strongest gains in life expectancy of all European Union countries, and strongly falling amenable mortality rates, referring to those deaths which can be prevented through good quality health care.

The opportunities for improvement identified include overcoming the large health disparities between socioeconomic groups, improving population coverage, developing a comprehensive plan to tackle workforce shortages, better managing the growing number of people with (multiple) noncommunicable diseases, and further improving care quality – most notably for the treatment of hypertension, acute myocardial infarction and stroke.

In 2017, the Estonian government decided to broaden the revenue base of the health system, which is seen as a historic step; if invested wisely, this could play a positive role in further improving the system.

The HiT review was launched in Tallinn during the WHO high-level regional meeting “Health systems for prosperity and solidarity: leaving no one behind” (13–14 June 2018) which was held in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Tallinn Charter.