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Visit of Plunge representatives to Bjerkreim municipality. Insights and lessons learned

May 5-8, 2015 a delegation of Plunge municipality consisting of a member of Plunge District Munipality Council Irena Taučienė, Head of Culture and Sport Division Vida Saukalienė and Municipal Doctor Oresta Gerulskienė participated in the activities financed by the Bilateral Cooperation Fund under the Programme LT11 “Public Health Initiatives” of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014. It was a great possibility to establish necessary bilateral contacts and to organise meetings with the leaders of Bjerkreim municipality as well as other Norwegian institutions having experience in the field of provision of youth friendly health care services before submitting application for implementation of Youth friendly health care service model in Plunge district municipality.

The visit was organised with the focus on Norwegian experience and best practice in the field of provision of youth friendly health care services. For that purpose meetings and discussions were organised in Bjerkreim, Egersund, Time (Bryne) municipalities, in healthcare and mental health centres in municipalities, family clinics, sport complex, Vikesa school.

Visit was very fruitful in terms of numerous visits, new contacts, practical advises, innovative ideas and accumulated experience. Delegation visited Vikesa school and noticed that schoolchildren feel equal to teachers, safe as at home and stress-free. Significant attention is given to afterschool activities and especially to physical activity. Schoolchildren have all possibilities for choosing active and healthy lifestyle, practicing sports and finding out information on actual health issues. In schools every week there are created various different activity groups, teenagers in the 8th grade are educated about transmissible diseases, sexual health and orientation, nutrition, smoking; in 9th grade there are lectures on sexual education, mental health and perception of own body. Schools organise meetings and conversations with children / teenagers and their parents, there is conducted monitoring of sight, hearing and spoken articulation. In 7th grade all girls are vaccinated from human papiloma virus. For children and teenagers with specific needs there are developed special monitoring plans, school is offering more frequent parent consultations, individual instructions and advices. Teamwork of specialists is dedicated to noticing and recording first signals of child discontent and possible development disorders.

School nurse is available to a child at any time of the day all week long: she can be reached by telephone even after working hours, she is indeed a friend and a mentor of a child.

In mental health centre delegation was introduced to the main youth problems in Bjerkreim (and Norway in general) and most common diseases: overstrain, autism, overweight, sometimes just unwillingness to go to school, indefinite anxiety, taunts. Therefore a lot of attention is given to communication, promotion of healthy nutrition and physical activity. Maybe due to these efforts this region during 20 years has witnessed only 3-4 suicides among teenagers. It is worth noticing that among youth there is no sexually transmitted diseases.

Healthcare services for teenagers in health centre are provided by centre nurses, obstetrician, physiotherapist, and if necessary also by psychologist, social pedagogue. There is continuous cooperation and consultation with family doctor, pedagogical psychological service, schools, kindergartens, mental health centre, etc.

In family centre of Time municipality we could single out the ongoing work with risk group families. There are conducted preventive measures targeted at persons with psychological problems – not only children, but their parents as well. As informed representatives of the centre, most common are behaviour problems and interaction disorders. Parents can always address this centre when their children are hyperactive, anxious, feel insulted or insecure. Children can always come to specialist and consult how to overcome divorce of the parents, loss of a close one, anger of parents, taunts of friends, i.e. “silent taunts – eye contacts“. Among most common problems were mentioned mental health, lack of perception of oneself and own body, family problems, stress.

Sport complex working from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. is open for everyone. For those who are willing to ride bicycles, everywhere are available bycicle tracks and for those who prefere hiking there are organised variuos differing distance tours in mountains, forests, parks. Here you can meet young and old, and Norwegian saying “there is no such thing as a bad weather, just inappropriate clothing“ proved to be right.

In kindergarden children from early age spent all the day playing outside. They can even sleep outside not to mention organised tours and walks, riding bikes, jumping on trampoline, swiming in the pool, etc. It was surprising that children eat each 3 hours, and lunch, diner can be served outside even if it is raining.

We believe that developed model for provision of youth friendly healthcare services which we are looking forward to implement jointly will contribute to improvement of youth health and quality of life, mortality decrease, reduction of health inequities as well as social and economical wellfare.

Bilateral activity was financed by the Bilateral Cooperation Fund under the Programme LT11 “Public Health Initiatives” of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014.

Last updated: 12-06-2016