The Federal Council approves a contribution to a health programme in Lithuania

Berne, Press release, 20.04.2011

The Federal Council has decided to allocate CHF 45.6 million to a programme for improvement of maternity and child care in Lithuania as part of Switzerland's enlargement contribution to the newly acceded EU countries. It will be jointly financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The contribution, approved on Wednesday by the Federal Council, is part of the ongoing transition aid that Switzerland has contributed to Lithuania since the 1990s. This aid has played a large part in improving the quality of maternity and infant care in Lithuania. Although considerable progress has been made in the Lithuanian health system, indicators such as child mortality rates are still lagging far behind those in most European countries. As for hospitals, Lithuania still has deficiencies in the area of infrastructure and equipment as well as in the field of energy efficiency.  

The SDC and SECO programmes will concentrate on these areas. The SDC will spend CHF 26.6 million on improving the training of 1300 members of the Lithuanian medical personnel and will contribute to the modernisation of the equipment in the 22 hospitals which account for more than 80% of all births in Lithuania. As for SECO, it will contribute CHF 19 million to measures to improve energy efficiency in 16 of these hospitals. The Swiss contribution will total CHF 45.6 million out of a total programme cost of 53.6 million. Lithuania will pay the difference between the two sums.  

This contribution by Switzerland is based on the federal act of 24 March 2006 on cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe and the Community of Independent States and on the federal decree of 14 June 2007 on a framework credit of CHF 1 billion for the reduction of economic and social disparities in the enlarged European Union.

The law of 24 March 2006 was approved by the Swiss people on 26 November 2006. It states in particular that the competent offices (SDC and SECO) may conclude agreements in the framework of international law concerning specific projects. If the cost of measures exceeds  CHF 20 million, as in the case of the programme to improve maternity and infant care in Lithuania, the Federal Council has to give its approval.

Information
Information FDFA, Tel: +41 31 322 31 53
Paula Wey, SECO researcher / Enlargement Contribution Tel: +41 31 324 47 77


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