In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. According to the National Health Plan 2009–2020, people’s health is significantly influenced their ability to cope with everyday life, their social and economic contribution to build up the country and the general success of the state. The right to health protection belongs to the main human rights and all persons must be guaranteed the necessary prerequisites for achieving the best health status – each person in Estonia must have the possibility to live in the health-supporting environment and to make healthy choices.
The data of accessibility of medical care are taken from the Estonian Social Survey. People for whom medical care is not accessible are those who needed medical aid during the last 12 months, but did not get it. The availability of family doctors, special medical aid and dental medical aid is under observation. The availability of medical aid is surveyed by the age, income group, place of residence and socio-economic status of the people.
The statistics of illnesses and using medical aid are transmitted by the Ministry of Social Affairs, which in turn collects data from health care institutions. The subject area includes statistics on tuberculosis, mental and behavioural disorders, new cases of malignant neoplasms and infectious diseases. Statistics on physicians’ and dentists’ visits can also be found.
The subject area of disabled persons includes general statistics on disabled persons and persons incapacitated for work. In addition, the subject area covers the indicators of social integration of disabled persons, which can be found under the following sub-sections: time use of disabled persons, contriving of disabled persons, employment of disabled persons, households with disabled member. The above-mentioned sub-sections provide information on employment of disabled persons, income and expenditures, living conditions, health status and use of spare time. With regard to each indicator, the total population has been compared with persons who have a valid degree of severity of disability, permanent incapacity for work or restriction on activities.
Pursuant to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Estonia follows the UN convention while defining the disability and it has been formulated in the Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act as follows: disability is the loss of or an abnormality in an anatomical, physiological or mental structure or function of a person which in conjunction with different relational and environmental restrictions prevents participation in social life on equal bases with the others.
The subject area of health care institutions includes information on physicians, hospitals, hospital beds and health resorts.
Indicators of health status have been received on the basis of the Estonian Social Survey –disability free life expectancy, health assessments, limitations of everyday activities due to health problems and occurrence of long-term illness. Disability free life expectancy is the indicator related to life expectancy. Disability free life expectancy is the average number of years an individual is expected to live free of disability.