Five Years of "Problem-Solving for Better Health" in Lithuania:
Workshops Bring Public Health Projects to Life

In December 2003, the Dreyfus Health Foundation's Problem Solving for Better Health (PSBH) program held its Fifth Anniversary Workshop in Lithuania. ECOLOGIA's Giedre Donauskaite reports, "This year we had 52 participants from different parts of Lithuania, representing hospitals, public health clinics, children's homes, schools and NGOs. Participants discussed problems related to mental health patients, nursing care improvement, smoking among the youth, social care, children health, and environmental problems. During this three day workshop, with the help of local and international facilitators who came from USA, United Kingdom and Poland, the Lithuanians developed their plans of actions which will be started soon after they return to their work places.

Participants in PSBH workshops understand the main idea: one should think creatively and try to find colleagues and supporters for their projects. In general, to give money is not common in Lithuania; it is difficult to fundraise locally. But when asked, in many cases people contribute to the project by providing consulting and professional advice, and by doing voluntary work. This way our participants find support from local community (especially when implementing environmental projects, such as cleaning an old chemical store house or monitoring kindergarten playgrounds in order to identify pollution by carcinogenic substances). Making contacts with the local community is very important not only because it gives publicity to the project. It also brings a hope that in the future new projects will receive local support which is essential in order to go forward ".