Assessment of barriers and opportunities to improve NCD outcomes in Estonia

A week-long WHO/Europe assessment of Estonia’s response to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) conducted in September 2014 looked for ways in which the Government can reduce the burden of these diseases and further improve their treatment and management. 

The mission to identify current barriers and innovative approaches to improve NCD outcomes was made at the request of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs.  The final report is expected in early 2015, and will be accompanied by a set of recommendations for changes that could lead to further gains, based on  the positive steps Estonia has already taken to prevent and control NCDs – including extensive tobacco and alcohol control measures and a demonstrated commitment to health care reform. 

Estonia is one of several countries to have undertaken such an assessment, which uses a guide developed by WHO/Europe.  To date, such assessments have also been conducted in Belarus, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan and Turkey.

The visit to Estonia also provided an opportunity for a focused workshop on food and nutrition policy. Led by staff from the WHO/Europe Nutrition, Obesity and Physical Activity Programme, the workshop focused on supporting the development of the new Estonian Green Paper on Nutrition. Inspired by the new European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015–2020, policy areas discussed included trans-fat elimination, salt reduction initiatives and food marketing to children.