Strengthening primary health care in Belarus: delegation visits Lithuania

WHO/Arnoldas Jurgutis

Belarus has embarked on transforming primary care services to improve the prevention, treatment and management of noncommunicable diseases. To learn from other countries, a group of policy-makers, managers and practitioners from Belarus visited Lithuania from 10 to 14 July 2017. Vilnius University and the Lithuanian Society of Family Medicine hosted the visit.

The delegation from Belarus visited various practices in which general practitioners, nurses and specialists work jointly to implement the national noncommunicable disease prevention programmes. These included small private practices, public polyclinics and the family medicine clinic of Vilnius University Hospital and the primary health care centre of Druskininkai Rayon. Participants had the opportunity to discuss how Lithuania’s primary care nurses and doctors have been supported to assume distinct roles and responsibilities in preventing and managing noncommunicable diseases. Lithuanian nurses showed how they assess cardiovascular risk and provide counselling services to people with diabetes.

The Department of Social Affairs and Health of the Municipality of Vilnius and the public health offices of Vilnius and Druskininkai demonstrated their achievements in addressing population needs by integrating public health and social services.

This initiative took place in the context of the European Union–funded project BELMED “Preventing noncommunicable diseases, promoting healthy lifestyle and support to modernization of the health system in Belarus 2016–2019” to prevent noncommunicable diseases through healthy lifestyles and modernizing services in Belarus and was jointly organized by the Ministry of Health of Belarus, the WHO Country Office in Belarus and the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care.