National consultation organized in Slovenia to mark World Health Day 2016

Slovenia marked World Health Day 2016 with a consultation co-organized by the Ministry of Health and the National Assembly. The Minister of Health, Ms Milojka Kolar Celarc, pointed out in her speech on World Health Day that from 2010 to 2014, the number of diabetes patients receiving medication in Slovenia has increased by 12.5%. In 2014, there were more than 100 000 patients and estimates show that more than 6% of the population in Slovenia has diabetes.

The national event was opened by Dr Tomaž Gantar, chair of the Parliamentary Committee for Health, and moderated by Dr Vesna Kerstin Petrič, Head of Division for Health Promotion and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health, along with Dr Marijan Ivanuša, Head of the WHO Country Office in Slovenia.

Diabetes efforts in Slovenia

The national programme for the control of diabetes 2014–2020 was prepared on the initiative of medical professionals and patients, and is focused on reducing the incidence of diabetes, early detection of patients with diabetes, and prevention of complications and mortality from this disease.

A project involving non-professional advisers, which was prepared in collaboration with medical professionals and the Association of Diabetes Societies, will come to life this year. The Association was one of the key initiators for the preparation of the national programme and is increasingly becoming an important partner, creator and proponent of new approaches, especially those that empower patients. This vastly increases the role of nongovernmental organizations in the field of controlling this important disease.

Due to the importance of diabetes and the many experiences gained during the implementation of the national programme, the treatment of diabetics in Slovenia received special attention in the analysis of the health care system, conducted by WHO in collaboration with national experts in 2015.

One of the models of good practice in Slovenia is the centres for health promotion in health care centres. The Health Care Centre of Sevnica, as part of the celebration of World Health Day, presented activities during the week titled "Together for Health", carried out in partnership with the National Institute of Public Health and with the support of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.

A pilot project, supported by the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia, has verified the value of certain approaches related to the new centres for health promotion. They have been well received by the community, as this approach provides better access to services and treatments for vulnerable groups of the population. This project, which took place in health care centres in Celje and Vrhnika, ensured good cooperation between the health care centres, home care service, social work centres, the Employment Service of Slovenia, nongovernmental organizations and patient associations. Slovenia received 14.5 million euros from European cohesion funds in order to upgrade prevention programmes and expand the network of centres for health promotion in the country.

Centres for health promotion, further expansion of model practices and restoration of prevention programmes are key priorities for action that will contribute to substantive upgrades to basic health care services. This will have a significant impact on achieving major objectives in the field of diabetes.