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The President of the Republic opened a health forum

President Arnold Rüütel today in Tallinn opened the Forum on Public Understanding of Health.

Opening the Forum the President of the Republic said that health is undoubtedly the most valuable asset a man can have. ''In order to live a high-quality life, it is important to take care of and strengthen one's health. It is also important to teach our children to value healthy life style, to go in for sports and to avoid too much stress in our everyday life as well as in our everyday relations,'' the Head of State added.

President Rüütel noted that the issues of public health are also one of the important cornerstones of the EU's Lisbon strategy, where promotion of health, improvement of the quality and accessibility of health services are among the main objectives. ''The Lisbon Strategy included the building of infrastructure of knowledge, promotion of innovation and economic reforms, and modernisation of the system of social well-being and education among the broader tasks of the current decade. We have started to call it as a strategy of knowledge-based society. This is often taken just as an extensive economic plan, but it is not correct. The strategy of knowledge-based society means economic as well as social reforms for achieving enhanced competitiveness and social cohesion,'' the President of the Republic said.

The Head of State noted that in the process of public understanding the movement towards more innovative society has been seen in the light of social principles derived from the Lisbon strategy, and attention has been focused on the needs of people and on promotion of social inclusion.

President Rüütel observed that many patients, physicians and nurses as well as health care officials are not any more satisfied with the quality and accessibility of health services in Estonia, hence many substantive issues need to be discussed and resolved. ''At the same time we cannot imagine that one forum could sort out in one day all the accumulated problems of that field. But nevertheless the already prepared materials help to get an overview of those problems and offer possible solutions for further public discussions. Certainly, today and the days following will give a valuable contribution, which is a sign indicating to the development of the process of public understanding and the expansion of its network,'' the Head of State stressed.

The President of the Republic pointed out a noteworthy initiative, which was recently made in Põlva County where the leaders of local governments, the county and the Estonian Olympic Committee concluded a cooperation agreement fostering physical activities. ''The aim of that agreement was the same as the aim of today's forum - to enhance the public health,'' President Rüütel said.

The Head of State wished the forum success in finding as a result of joint activities and discussions the convergence, which would help to proceed with improving public health and achieving the objectives of the Lisbon strategy.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, January 18, 2005

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