28th February 2023 – not only the last day of the calendar winter. This is also the date when Public Health Bureaus of Pakruojis and Šilalė district municipalities successfully “ran” the marathon of the project “Improvement of health services in educational institutions of Pakruojis and Šilalė district municipalities” (hereinafter – the Project) – all the planned activities of the Project have been implemented, the planned results have been achieved. From March 2021 the Project team worked purposefully in order to improve the services provided to children in the health offices of pre-school and school education institutions in the municipalities of Pakruojis and Šilalė, thus ensuring the well-being of children and youth. During the implementation of the Project, a number of challenges were encountered – the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine, as a result of which the implementation of activities was delayed, the prices of works and goods increased, and the supply of goods was disrupted. But nothing is impossible if you work hard!
During the implementation of the Project, 14 health offices were repaired (10 in Pakruojis district, 4 in Šilalė district), of which almost a third (5 health offices) were newly installed, so there are now 26 operating health offices in Pakruojis and Šilalė districts. By the end of the Project’s implementation, all these health offices were equipped with furniture, equipment and methodological tools necessary for the provision of health services (17 in Pakruojis district, 9 in Šilalė district). In total 6 134 units of various tools were purchased, most of which (5 054 units, which is more than 82%) are various publications aimed at improving the emotional state and mental health of children and young people.
“For strengthening mental health and increasing emotional literacy, the exercise books were the most effective, because using it you can carry out continuous activities with the same children, delve into peer communication, bullying problems and solve them,” said one of the specialists of the Šilalė District Municipality Public Health Bureau.
According to health specialists, many children do not yet know how to properly express and recognize emotions, especially negative ones, so tools such as emotion-squeezing mats, emotion cushions, puzzles, various games help develop children’s emotional literacy, and lessons become much more interesting and engaging for children, when various tools are used. Not less popular among children are tools designed to develop skills of hygiene and healthy eating, learn to provide first aid, also books in which they can complete tasks, draw, and colour are very popular. The children’s interest in the tools acquired during the implementation of the project only confirms that with specialists dedicated to their work and suitable tools the kindergarten and school are perhaps the most favourable place to nurture children’s health, form healthy lifestyle skills and develop wellness activities, taking into account the characteristics of the child’s development.
“This project is like winning a pot of gold in the lottery, which we could use to improve the health of children and youth and increase their well-being. The renovated health offices are a safe, beautiful environment where children and young people can not only participate in group activities, but also come to talk to a public health specialist in person or simply use various purchased tools helping to calm down. Today, children talk more and more about their emotional well-being, bullying, anger and fear. Many tools have been purchased, so anyone can discover new ways to improve their emotional state. I am sure that the quality of the services provided by the health specialists will only improve thanks to each newly purchased tool. Compared to other districts in Lithuania, Pakruojis is a small district, most of the educational institutions are in rural areas, so before the Project we could only dream that the health offices would have such an abundance of new modern sensory, physical activity-stimulating, emotion-controlling tools, and as many as 19 different types of publications. The total number of units of methodical literature in Pakruojis district health offices is almost 4 200 – more than we have children in our educational institutions, so there will be enough tools for both – current and future students. We have the tools for work, now all that remains is to create and work in the name of a better future for children and youth” – said Laisvida Badauskienė, Pakruojis District Municipality Public Health Bureau (currently on childcare leave).
It was planned that in modern health offices adapted for children and youth we would provide services to 5 658 children and young people (2 394 in Pakruojis district, 3 264 in Šilalė district), but the reached result is greater – after summarizing the data provided by public health specialists, it was found that during the implementation of the Project in total 6 319 persons attended renewed health offices or otherwise used the methodological tools acquired during the Project (of which 2 876 in Pakruojis district, 3 443 in Šilalė district).
Project No. LT03-2-SAM-K01-013 “Improvement of health services in educational institutions of Pakruojis and Šilalė district municipalities” was implemented according to the 2014-2021 Program of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism “Health”. The project aimed to create conditions for improving children‘s health and quality of life, to ensure high-quality and efficient health care services provided to children in health offices – to renew the infrastructure of the health offices of pre-school and school education institutions, necessary for the provision of services.
For the project implementation was used 273,42 thousand EUR, of which 171,98 thousand Eur – funds of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism, 30,35 thousand Eur – funds from the budget of the Republic of Lithuania, 71,09 thousand Eur – funds from the budgets of Pakruojis and Šilalė district municipalities.
More information about the project here.
Pakruojis District Municipality Public Health Bureau