The creators of children's health monitoring IS have gained experience in Norway

On 21–24 October 2014, with the implementation of the project “Children's health monitoring information systems for the systematic monitoring of the health of children and purposeful health policy development and implementation” of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009–2014 Programme No. LT11 "Public health initiatives" (hereinafter referred to as "Programme"), the representatives of the Institute of Hygiene and the Ministry of Health have travelled to Norway to gain experience about the monitoring of the health of children.

This has been financed by the Programme's Bilateral Cooperation Fund in order to promote bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and Norway regarding the Programme.
 
During the meeting with the representatives of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Norwegian Directorate of Health, the Norwegian  Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs and the NOVA Research Institute, experience was shared on the health monitoring of children in Norway by discussing preventive health checks, procedures, their frequency and reference information content about the health of children, as well as indicators and their use on a local, regional and national level. Answers were found to key questions which are important for the development of the national children's health monitoring system in Lithuania.
 
1. What are the common procedures of preventive health checks of school-aged children in Norway? Who performs them?
Preventive health checks of school-aged children are usually performed in a health centre. Health checks are performed by a public nurse who carries out the functions of individual health care (preventive health checks, vaccinations and first-aid) and public health care (health promotion, training and consulting).

2. Is a special medical form filled out during the preventive health checks of school-aged children? Is the information collected during the preventive health checks of children used for monitoring or statistics?
No approved medical forms are filled out during the health checks, information about health is not collected, systemised and provided to other public institutions with the exception of data about vaccinations.

3. Who are the beneficiaries in terms of preventive health checks of children (the child himself, parents, family doctor, school's health care specialists)? 
Preventive health checks are carried out for the benefit of the child.
 
4. What are the data sources for Norwegian health monitoring?
The data sources for Norwegian health monitoring are the National health registers (17 registers), sample surveys and data collected by professional specialists of the Statistics Department of Norway (wider studies were presented on the growth of children, mental health, youth and a cohort study on the mother and child).
 
5. What is (if any) the data connection methodology of various registers? 
Data from various registers can be connected by using a personal identification number when conducting research, but it is not used when performing health monitoring. 
 
6. Which children's health indicators are analyzed and evaluated in Norway? 
In Norway, analysis is mostly performed on the health indicators specific only for children which are usually associated with the evaluation of lifestyle and risk factors. Other indicators are collected according to the ECHI list of indicators, and monitoring of public health indicators in municipalities is also performed.

7. Which main public institution is responsible for the collection of population-based health data and the calculation of related indicators? 
The main institution responsible for health monitoring is the Norwegian Institute of Public Health which manages the majority of health registers and governs the national sample surveys.

8. Are all the calculated indicators presented in the information system NorHealth? Is NorHealth widely used by public health specialists, epidemiologists and other specialists? In what form can the health indicators be presented in NorHealth? Are there differences in their presentation at a national and municipal level? 
NorHealth is a health information system where various health indicators are presented and are available to the public. Indicators can be displayed in tables, graphs, maps. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health prepares special publications for each municipality – profiles which contain selected health indicators of municipal populations, interpretation and comparison with the national average. 

This activity was the first establishment of bilateral contacts of the Institute of Hygiene, in order to use Norway's experience during project implementation, to establish a partnership with colleagues from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norwegian Directorate of Health, the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs and the NOVA Research Institute who have many years of experience in this field.
 
In order to achieve the best results in improving the health of children, it is necessary to promote the cooperation between personal and public health specialists; make it possible to combine the databases, registries and surveys of information systems for statistical and scientific purposes, by using a personal identification number; carry out national representative surveys on youth life by potentially applying Norway's experience; entrench the provision that children are the beneficiaries in children's health monitoring.

The established contacts and the benevolent agreement to continue the cooperation will provide the opportunity to consult with Norwegian specialists about children's health monitoring as well as other types of monitoring.

For more information, please contact project manager Šarūnas Alasauskas by phone (8 5) 261 2084 or e-mail sarunas.alasauskas@hi.lt