OECD Reviews of Public Health: Latvia

A Healthier Tomorrow

image of OECD Reviews of Public Health: Latvia

Latvia sees high rates of obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption. In turn, this results in a high incidence of preventable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and many cancers. This puts a burden on a health system which is already operating on a very tight budget as compared to other OECD countries. This OECD report shows that Latvia has many of the policies it needs to address these problems in place. However, Latvia needs to go further to ensure the health system can effectively prevent diseases, not just cure them. This will require redesigning policies to reach a larger population and efforts to educate the population to understand how to protect their health. Better screening programmes are needed, as is a stronger primary care sector, and access to essential medicines for all Latvians.


Strengthening Latvia’s secondary and tertiary prevention policies

Secondary prevention aims to reduce the morbidity of a disease or injury that has already occurred through early detection, and putting in place actions to halt or slow the progress of the disease, while tertiary prevention manages the disease once it has occurred to prevent complications. In Latvia, there are some clear shortcomings when it comes to secondary and tertiary prevention, with low rates of cancer screening coverage, and high rates of complications from chronic diseases such as diabetes. Some improvements should be made to vertical prevention programmes, for example strengthening the cancer screening invitations system(s). Much of the potential to improve secondary and tertiary prevention lies in health system strengthening – investing in the health workforce, strengthening GP responsibilities and capacities, creating chronic disease management pathways for care delivery – and eliminating inefficiencies, in particular better aligning payment schedules with best practice patient pathways and chronic disease care.


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