Sustainability of the nation, health and social protection

Changes in various areas are needed to maintain Estonia’s basic principles, achieve the strategic goals and meet the development needs. Targeted and coordinated cross-sectoral cooperation is important. The changes that need more attention than the proposals presented and negotiated during the preparation of the strategy are tied into five thematic bundles. Their implementation is monitored on the basis of a more detailed action plan each year and, if necessary, adjustments are made based on domestic events affecting the development of Estonia and changes in the foreign environment.

We will develop a comprehensive population and family policy to ensure the sustainability and well-being of the Estonian people

In order to ensure a sustainable population, we are developing a comprehensive population and family policy that supports births and parenthood, which aims to increase the well-being of families and thereby reduce the difference between the desired and the actual number of children being born. When designing policy measures, we will take into account the diversity of families’ needs and preferences throughout the period of raising children. We encourage the change of societal attitudes to value intergenerational cohesion and support the social activism and dignified aging of older people (for example, their greater contribution to volunteer work). To ensure the well-being of children, we are working with state and local governments to create solutions that support positive parenting and prevent child abuse, update child protection arrangements and support systems for children with special needs, develop services for children with complex problems and continue the transition to family-based care.

action plan 

We will shape the living environment and people's attitudes and behaviour to be more protective of health and the environment, and reduce risk behaviour

In order to prolong people’s life expectancy and healthy life years, people’s attitudes and behaviour need to be made more health-conscious and considerate towards oneselves, and risk behaviour needs to be reduced, accidents prevented, and the environment protected. To this end, we plan both integrated prevention measures and counselling services for people in a cross-sectoral and inclusive manner. We will use permanent forms of cooperation based on a communitybased approach and networking. Improving the health education of the population and reducing risk behaviour is also supported by the development of digital solutions. In addition to promoting healthy lifestyle choices (including a balanced diet, adequate physical and mental activity and social interaction), we will increase people’s awareness of the living environment starting from primary education because it directly affects people’s health in society at large. We will ensure the safety of products and chemicals, drinking water, medicines and improve the availability of high-quality food.

Action plan 

We will support mental health and reduce mental and physical violence

In order to develop a comprehensive mental health support system, we will agree on common principles and measures and ensure the availability and quality of necessary services throughout the person’s life cycle. We will develop an early detection system and enhance the role of the family and community as a preventive and supportive response to both mental health problems and violence, so that people have the knowledge and skills to reduce mental health risks and recognise risks (e.g., risk of a burnout) and mental health problems as they arise and know when and where to seek help. We are expanding our various evidence-based prevention and social programmes to help prevent and reduce bullying at school or work, harassment in the workplace and other communities, domestic and sexual violence, as well as reducing risk behaviours, raising awareness, and preventing extremist behaviour and radicalisation. We will develop network-based assistance for victims of violence and measures to help prevent the recurrence of violence. We will also pay attention to solving the mental problems that cause illegal behaviour, including in prisons.

Action plan 

We will modernise the occupational health system to support health and reduce people’s incapacity for work

In order to prolong people’s healthy years of life and reduce their incapacity for work, we will develop innovative and effective occupational health and safety services, including targeted information and counselling services and information technology solutions that promote occupational health and safety. We will also improve the quality and availability of occupational health services. We will develop a system to help people with temporary incapacity for work to remain in the labour market, to prevent their permanent incapacity for work. We will increase the awareness of labour market participants about various risk factors (incl. mental health risk factors, work bullying, and harassment).

Action plan 

We will integrate health and social services in a peoplecentered way

A key factor in the provision of people-centred welfare services is the integration of health and social services, supported by good leisure time possibilities. For that, we will create a functioning coordination system based on a partnership between the state and local governments, which will ensure that people’s needs are approached in a uniform manner. In the provision of integrated services, we will design services based on new foundations, modernise and integrate the existing ones, and invest in infrastructure that supports the provision of services (we will modernise both the network of community services and the network of hospitals and health care institutions). In the social, health and work fields, the aim is to move to services that take into account a person’s life path and needs and operate in the background, supported by the introduction of evidence-based digital solutions and the integrated use of data.

Action plan 

We will integrate personal medicine solutions into the daily activities of the healthcare system

In order to prolong healthy life years, we will integrate personal medicine solutions into the daily activities of the healthcare system, including the inclusion of human genetic and health data in evidence-based decision-making processes in both treatment and prevention. We will develop services that take into account human health behaviour, environmental and genetic data, and therefore enable individuals, including doctors, to better prevent disease, monitor health and treatment. In order to make personal health services more efficient, we will support the development of appropriate digital solutions, enhancing data exchange (including between countries), research in the respective field, updating the legal environment, regulating data use, training health professionals and raising awareness among people and within society.

Action plan 

We will modernise the organisation of social protection, taking into account the changes in the society

We will ensure that people have adequate health insurance coverage and the sustainability of health care financing, which supports the availability of health care services and medicines and medical equipment, as well as the reduction of waiting lists. We will guarantee the sustainability of the pension system and the well-being of pensioners. For that, we will change the system of old-age pensions on favourable terms and the system of earned pension years, promote saving for pension, promote the use of occupational pensions, and increase people’s financial awareness. The wider spread of changed forms of work requires more flexible unemployment and redundancy benefit schemes and the adjustment of social protection schemes. We will agree on the division of responsibilities between the individual, the state and local governments, which will support needs-based social protection, and we will update the financing model for long-term care.

Action plan 

We will improve the well-being and social activity of people with special needs and improve the efficiency of the long-term care system

Health, employment and social protection and services in the cultural sector (e.g., provision of technical aids, rehabilitation and support services, information services, access to cultural and sporting events) must be coordinated and connected in order to improve, inter alia, the well-being of people with special needs. To prevent the need for long-term care, we are developing a system of appropriate services, including the introduction of the principle of early detection and the creation of assessment systems and tools. We will develop care services that enable to care and support services to be received mainly at home and in the community, invest in the modernisation of infrastructure, and support the use of technology and innovative solutions in the social sector. To this end, we will increase the number of employees in the field of long-term care and improve their qualifications through training and work-based learning.

Action plan 

Last updated: 24.08.2021