Estonia's National Institute for Health Development Welcomes a Peer Review Team

On October 24-28, 2022, an IANPHI peer-to-peer evaluation team traveled to Estonia at the invitation of the National Institute for Health Development (NIHD) to work on an external evaluation of the institute. The purpose of peer review was to analyze the role and activities of NIHD in the Estonian health system and to find ways to strengthen the Estonian health system. 

IANPHI evaluation team

IANPHI evaluation team. From left to right, sitting: Quentin Sandifer, Annika Veimer, and Duncan Selbie. Standing: Loek Stokx and Markku Tervahauta. Not pictured: Johannes Brug and Andres Rannamäe were also part of the evaluation team.

Earlier this year, the Estonian National Institute for Health Development, a member of IANPHI, commissioned an external evaluation from IANPHI, relying on IANPHI's network of high-level experts from member National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) and unique peer-review model for evaluating the performance of NPHIs.

The IANPHI evaluation team was led by Markku Tervahauta, director general of the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL), and members included Duncan Selbie, president of IANPHI and founding chief executive of Public Health England, Quentin Sandifer, IANPHI's strategic advisor, Johannes Brug, director general of the Netherlands Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Loek Stokx, chief strategist at RIVM, and Andres Rannamäe, an independent health and public health expert from Estonia.

On October 24-28, 2022, the evaluation team traveled to Estonia for a visit, during which NIHD's employees gave an overview of their current activities and plans. Members of the team were given an overview of the Estonian health system, key activities in the field of public health and areas closely related to the health field, the role of NIHD, activities and cooperation with the most important partnering institutions, and stakeholders' expectations for NIHD, including in the area of crisis management in the country. The evaluation team also thoroughly familiarized itself with different units of NIHD and their lines of actions, met with various external partners in order to get a better overview of the role the institute plays in the wider sphere of social and public health. 

During the week, the evaluation team also met with important partners and stakeholders of NIHD, including representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Interior as well as the Parliament's Social Affairs Committee, the Estonian Research Council, the Health Board, the Agency of Medicines, the Labor Inspectorate, and the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Team members also met with NIHD's partners from the county and local government levels.

"I am extremely happy to have such a high-level evaluation team look into the Estonian health system and make recommendations," said Annika Veimer, director of NIHD. "I believe that an external expert’s evaluation of both NIHD's activities and the wider Estonian health system and the field of prevention is valuable and necessary. NIHD is an organization that wants to adapt to changes in society and grow in order to continue to contribute to the improvement of the health of the Estonian population in the best possible way. The results of the external evaluation and the recommendations of IANPHI help us achieve this goal."

According to Airi Mitendorf, NIHD's head of development, independent expert assessment is of great value to an institution: "Especially when considering the initial plan earlier this year to carry out a reform in Estonian health sector, it is good to have an independent analysis. The stronger the institution, the more value we can provide to people. A natural process of development needs a clear vision of where to move forward and a lot of daily work and cooperation and effort from all parties."

This story was first published in Estonian on the website of NIHD.

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