The public health function in central and eastern Europe

Theresa Knight, Christopher Birt, Lesley Armitage, I Bocsan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides a description of the structure and function of public health within seven central and eastern European countries. The information was gathered from senior figures within public health in these countries, who came together at a European Union (EU)-funded seminar on public health which aimed to share recent developments in the public health function in their countries, and to develop a shared vision of the future for public health across an (eventually) much enlarged and united EU. An essential starting point for this was a clear understanding of how public health operates within each of the countries involved. The information gathered and presented here suggests that the countries of central and eastern Europe included in this survey have much in common with current EU member states, in that public health is held to be of national importance. On the whole, they share similar priorities. The organization of the public health function varies quite considerably and variations of degrees of central and local control are manifested. There is also variation in the relationship between the ‘health’ and ‘environmental’ aspects of public health. In some countries, these are distinctly separate areas of activity, whereas in others they are integrated. All countries acknowledge that public health practice is a multidisciplinary activity, but this is not necessarily backed up with unified systems for co-ordinated education, training and development, open to all. Continued cross-Europe discussion, exchange of information on the development of the public health function, and collaboration on training, education and development in public health will be of mutual benefit and is essential if high standards in public health practice are to be achieved and maintained across the whole of the European region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-105
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003


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