Departments of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic - UVZEN
Departments of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic
Living environment hygiene is medical discipline dealing with influence of living environment characteristics and of way of life on health of population and individual. The aim of living environment hygiene is to improve the health status of inhabitants by creating of such conditions in living environment which ensure or contribute to health protection of a man, to his healthy development, physical and psychical welfare.
Department of Living Environment Hygiene carries out following activities:
- elaboration of legislation and methodical directions for the topic of drinking water, bathing water, noise, electromagnetic fields, inner environment of buildings, products for contact with water for human consumption, equipment which is in contact with human body (sun parlor, massages and recondition services, barbershop, hairdresser's, pedicure, manicure, sauna, tattoo, pearcing, etc.), health educational facilities, funeral undertakings,
- prepares methodical and expert directions for the performance of state health surveillance in mentioned areas by regional public health authorities,
- participates in preparation of conceptual materials of the Ministry of Health of the SR and coordinates other departments in task fulfilment, ensuing from adopted documents and reviews materials submitted by other state bodies and self-governments in the topic of environmental health,
- assessment and elaboration of expert standpoints in scope of appelate procedure and administration of complaints,
- secures, prepares and elaborates standpoints for working groups of the European Commission in matters concerning drinking water, bathing water, mercury policy in Europe, noise in environment, consumer protection in connection with services etc.,
- proposing of limits for individual pollutants in parts and factors of living environment (drinking water, air in outer and inner environment, noise, vibrations, electromagnetic fields, construction materials etc.) from the aspect of their possible influence on human health,
- performance of counselling activity for public on questions concerning drinking water, housing, harmful substances in inner and outer environment, noise, traffic, recreation, services etc.
Department of living environment hygiene performs also other important activities:
- coordinates activities concerning NEHAP/CEHAPE implementation (Children's Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe), Protocol on water and health,
- prepares and coordinates projects focused on reaching of goals and intentions of international environmental programs (ENHIS, biomonitoring, etc.),
- participates on projects of other sectors and institutions concerning the topic of environmental health, mainly in the sphere of drinking water and bathing water,
- based on knowledge gained from monitoring of environmental-health indicators it takes part in assessment of health risks resulting from burden connected with exposition of population to unfavourable factors of living environment and based on evaluated health risk proposes rules and measures focused on lowering of these risks,
- initiates, organizes and secures environmental-health activities on national level, cooperates with international institutions and organizations on projects focused on problems of living environment and health.
Secretariat for NEHAP implementation (National Environment and Health Action Plan)
NEHAP Secretariat is executive institution for processes directing in scope of NEHAP implementation in the Slovak Republic cooperating with WHO. It was established based on proposal of the Minister of Health of the SR on 15 March 2000 at the PHA SR in the scope of department of living environment hygiene. It directs activity of the national directing commission (steering committee) and intersectorial working group for NEHAP implementation.
In scope of its activities it develops and coordinates activities for promotion of living environment and health, participates on international project ENHIS – Information system based on indicators of living environment and health, coordinated by WHO – European Centre for Environment and Health, Bonn, monitors environmental health through specified indicators in European region, secures all activities concerning NEHAP/CEHAPE implementation (Action Plan for Living Environment and Health) in collaboration with European Commission, coordinates activities related to realization of human biomonitoring (HBM) on European scale and collaborates with home and foreign institutions active in the field of environmental health.
Department of Preventive Occupational Hygiene
Preventive occupational medicine performs tasks in scope of public health in the sphere of health protection at work.
Department of Preventive Occupational Hygiene carries out following activities:
- prepares methodical and expert guiding and coordinates regional public health authorities in the Slovak Republic in performing of state health supervision in the sphere of health protection at work,
- carries out activities connected with proposals for usage of biological factors, for storing and manipulation with very poisonous substances and preparations in the workplace, for activities related to production, processing, manipulation, storing, transportation and liquidation of chemical carcinogens and mutagens in the workplace including asbestos and materials containing asbestos,
- prepares source materials for decision making of PHA SR on proposals for issuance of authorisation for performance of occupational health service and for elimination of asbestos materials from constructions,
- takes part in harmonisation of legislation in the sphere of health protection at work with legislation of European Communities, and national legislation in the sphere of health protection at work,
- elaborates criteria of healthy work conditions, work environment and the way of work and factors which influence them, and rules for prevention of diseases resulting from work and work conditions,
- secures activity and takes part in the work at commissions for examination of professional competence for qualitative and quantitative determination of factors of living and work environment for the purpose of assessment of their possible influence on health.
Department of Preventive Occupational Hygiene performs also other important activities:
- monitoring and assessment of Slovak data on risk works, creation of Slovak database of risk works, maintaining of central register of risk works,
- realization and coordination of tasks, projects, programs, epidemiological studies focused on assessment of influence of physical, chemical, biological and other factors of work and work environment on health of employees,
- directs and coordinates in the Slovak Republic activities connected with chemical security through Intersectorial commission of chemical security in the Slovak Republic,
- fulfils tasks of the National contact place of chemical security in the Slovak Republic on national and international level, secures expert counselling for employees and employers in the sphere of protection and promotion of health at work, participates in education of population towards healthy and safe work.
Department of Nutrition Hygiene, Food Safety and Cosmetic Products
Directs and guides tasks in the field of public health in the sphere of care of healthy nutrition of population.
In scope of its competence department performs following activities:
- defines basic principles of correct nutrition of population depending on physical characteristics and life conditions,
- determines recommended nutrition doses for individual groups of population,
- directs the topic of common dining of selected groups of population,
- coordinates prevention programs in the field of correct nutrition, carries out educational and counselling activity,
- carries out monitoring of factors influencing health through nutrition,
- proposes and assess hygienic conditions for production and manipulation with foodstuffs and with food and prepares legislation proposals in given sphere.
- directs and coordinates organization and performance of state health supervision and of food surveillance over production, manipulation and introducing to circulation of foodstuffs and food in facilities of common dining and in facilities with epidemiologic risk production, manipulation and introducing to circulation of foodstuffs,
- prepares source materials in matter of decision making in new foodstuffs and nutrition supplements according to the Act No. 355/2007 Coll. of Laws on protection, promotion a development of public health and on change and amendment of some acts,
- elaborates expert opinions to plant protection products according to the Act No. 193/2005 Coll. of Laws on medical care of herbs,
- elaborates limits for hygienic and health security for foodstuffs and for risk minimalization in food chain,
- coordinates and prepares legislation proposals in the area of health security of foodstuffs,
- department is a contact point for Rapid alert system over foodstuffs and food in the Slovak Republic in the net of regional public health authorities.
- issues permissions for use of other substances than those stated in list of approved substances in cosmetic products in the territory of the Slovak Republic,
- is a contact point for RAPEX – system of rapid warning announcement when finding dangerous cosmetic products within the European Union,
- directs, coordinates and guides regional public health authorities in control of cosmetic products,
- keeps central registers on producers, importers of cosmetic products, substances used in cosmetic products needed for purposes of health care,
- summarizes, analyses and evaluates results of state health supervision in the area of cosmetic products, issues/cancels permissions on non-stating of substances in composition of cosmetic products from the reason of trade secret protection.
Department of radiation protection
Department of radiation protection cooperates with international institutions in the sphere of radiation protection – International atomic energy agency (IAEA), United nations scientific committee on the effects of atomic radiation (UNSCEAR), International radiation protection association (IRPA). Department informs EU institutions and EU Commission on results of ionizing radiation measurement in environment of the Slovak Republic, on accidents and exceptional events, on handling and disposal of nuclear and radioactive waste, on extent of irradiation of employees with radiation sources in performing of activities leading to irradiation, transport of radioactive materials within/outside the EU member states and on extent of irradiation of population by natural sources of radiation.
In scope of its competence department performs following activities:
- performs state health supervision at workplaces with the source of ionizing radiation in the regions Trnava, Trenčín and Nitra, including assessment of proposals and control of decommission of nuclear plant A1 and preparation of decommission of nuclear plant V1,
- solves exceptional situations in control loss over sources of ionizing radiation and in finding of radiation source of unknown origin. Department realizes evaluation of over expositions of employees with radiation sources,
- secures and directs activities of the headquarters of Slovak radiation monitoring net for case of radiation accident and monitoring of radioactive contamination level of living environment,
- keeps central register of doses of employees with sources of ionizing radiation in the Slovak Republic,
- keeps central register of radiation sources in the Slovak Republic and keeps central register of radiation sources imported to the Slovak Republic,
- performs control of radiation situation in living environment in Slovakia and assessment of content of radioactive substances in all components of living environment (water, soil, air, foodstuffs, etc.),
- performs control of radiation situation in the neighbourhood of nuclear plants and monitoring of their influence on living environment and inhabitants,
- performs specialized dosimetric, spectrometric and radiometric analyses,
- checks professional competence for activities leading to irradiation and activities important from the aspect of radiation protection.
Department of materialization of living conditions factors
Department provides exact and reliable results on quality of water for drinking and bathing, food, objects of common use, cosmetics, internal and external air, internal environment of buildings and working environment.
Carries out chemical and genotoxicological analysis of biological material in connection to exposition by harmful substances in living and working environment, ecotoxicological examinations in waters, soils, waste and chemical substances and objectification of physical factors in living and working environment for decision making process of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic and regional public health authorities (RPHA) in the SR and for securing of control of health harmlessness of components of living and working environment.
Workstations of department secure special analyses for other RPHA in Slovakia and provide services to customers in the sphere of testing of components of living and working environment. They detect presence of unknown dangerous chemical substances in exceptional and accident situations.
Department was awarded in the year 2002 from SNAS certificate of accreditation No. S 048, thanks to which it is competent to carry out tests and measurements of chemical, biological and physical factors of environment, as well as air sampling with the required exactness of measurement and level of detection according to STN EN ISO/IEC 17 025:2005.
Department carries out accredited and unaccredited tests.
National reference centres
National reference centres (NRC) carry out their activities within the Department of materialization of living conditions factors. Their task is to gather newest data in specialized sphere, develop, check and introduce into practice new analytical procedures, methodically direct related workstations at RPHA in the SR and cooperate in preparation of legislation with the Ministry of Health.
- National reference centre for pesticides residues
- National reference centre for exposition tests of xenobiotics
- National reference centre for microbiology of living environment
- National reference centre for legionella in living environment
- National reference centre for hydrobiology
- National reference centre for ecotoxicology
- National reference centre for evaluation of late effects of chemical substances by methods of genetic toxicology
- National reference centre for non-ionizing radiation
- National reference centre for thermic-humid microclimate
Specialized laboratories of materialization of living conditions factors
Another specialized workstations which secure tests of components of living and working environment are specialized laboratories of materialization of living conditions factors:
- specialized laboratory of water chemistry
- specialized laboratory of foodstuffs chemistry
- specialized laboratory of air chemistry
- specialized laboratory of atomic absorptive spectrometry
- specialized laboratory of liquid chromatography
- specialized laboratory of gas chromatography
- specialized laboratory of noise and vibrations
- working group for samples taking
Department of epidemiology
Epidemiology is medical scientific speciality dealing with the topic of extension and division of statuses and events connected with health in specialized population and with application of results of this study for control of health problems.
Epidemiology comes out from its own theoretical basis and practical knowledge and integrates knowledge from preventive, clinical, laboratory and other medical and non-medical specialities into the modern system of prevention.
The object of activity in epidemiology is occurrence of diseases, health disorders and their causes in population, determination, analysis and evaluation of natural, social and economical factors and factors connected with human activity securing health or influencing origination of diseases. The object of activity of epidemiology of communicable diseases is the process of contagion spreading.
Department of epidemiology fulfils tasks focused on prevention, control and surveillance of infectious diseases in the Slovak Republic. Priority tasks are securing of epidemiological surveillance, coordination of immunization program, lecturing and publication activity.
In scope of its tasks Department of epidemiology secures following activities:
- fulfilment of tasks coming out from the Act No. 355/2007 Coll. of Laws on protection, promotion and development of public health and with connected legislation-legal regulations,
- coordination of immunization program of the Slovak population, control of tasks fulfilment in accordance with WHO recommendations,
- coordination of complex Slovak surveillance of infectious diseases – planning, organizational securing and control of tasks fulfilment in accordance with WHO recommendations and in accordance with realized surveillance in EU countries,
- coordinates surveillance particularly of flu and flu-like diseases, poliomyelitis, meningococcal invasive infections, salmonelosis, measles and HIV/AIDS in the Slovak Republic and analyses and evaluates its results,
- preparation of proposals of expert-methodical guidelines and control of activity of departments of epidemiology of regional public health authorities in the Slovak Republic and control of performance of state administration in the health sphere in the field of epidemiology of infectious diseases,
- analyses factors influencing origination, process, extension and impacts of these contagions, elaborates proposals of prevention and repression measures and monitors effect of their implementation,
- guides complexity and timeliness of reporting and laboratory examination of diseases and suspicions on disease,
- expertly-methodically guides and coordinates performance of prevention and repression epidemiological measures in exceptional epidemiological situations,
- secures regular monitoring and weekly evaluation of incidence of exceptional epidemiological situations in the Slovak Republic and connection of the Slovak Republic with European Early warning and response system (EWRS),
- elaborates conceptions and proposals of materials, source materials and standpoints, prepares and assess proposals of expert-methodical guidelines in the field of epidemiology of infectious diseases,
- secures organizationally fulfilment of tasks coming out from European Commission and WHO recommendations for surveillance of infectious diseases.
Department of epidemiology prepares and coordinates fulfilment of National program of HIV/AIDS prevention in the Slovak Republic, secures surveillance of HIV/AIDS in the Slovak Republic as well as cooperation of experts in health sector and in other sectors in the topic of HIV/AIDS prevention through National commission of HIV/AIDS prevention in the Slovak Republic.
In the sphere of vaccination Department prepares proposals on vaccination strategy, vaccination schemes and procedures in accordance with WHO recommendations and in accordance with realization of vaccination in EU countries. Department prepares proposals of expert-methodical guidelines in the sphere of epidemiology of infectious diseases preventable by vaccination, evaluates level of vaccination coverage in the Slovak Republic, following of indications and contraindications, effectiveness of vaccine utilization, monitors and analyses incidence of postvaccination reactions and complications, verifies effect of vaccination by targeted immunological surveys, monitors following of strategy and tactics of vaccination, correct manipulation with vaccines, mainly abiding of temperature regime as well as other activities in this sphere.
Department of children and youth hygiene
Main tasks of Department are promotion and protection of health of children and youth in the sphere of public healthcare, development and improving of health of young generation through care of healthy living and working conditions and by promoting of correct way of life in children and youth.
In scope of its tasks Department secures mainly these activities:
- coordinates solving of principled directions of state health policy in the field of promotion and protection of health of children and youth in the Slovak Republic,
- processing of conceptions and perspectives of development of department of promotion and protection of health of children on national level,
- carries out conceptual and coordination activity in the sphere of proposals preparation of hygienic norms for living and working conditions of children and youth (regulations, guidelines, decisions) and based on them expert guiding of promotion and protection of health of young generation in the Slovak Republic,
- coordinates performance of state health supervision and food supervision and performance of measures against formation and spreading of communicable diseases and other health impairments which are carried out by regional public health authorities and measures related to life and working conditions and way of life of children and youth,
- cooperates with state administration bodies and its execution bodies connected with care of children and youth as well as with other bodies in the sphere of public health, with general practitioner physicians for children and youth and with physicians for youth in monitoring of health status of children and youth (group characteristics) and in realization of programs of protection and promotion of health,
- methodically and expertly guides and coordinates activities of subordinated workplaces in the Slovak Republic in fulfilment of national tasks in the sphere of promotion and protection of health of children and youth, including preparation of new methodics and working procedures,
- organization and performance of studies of relations of living conditions and health of children and youth, evaluation of gained results and extent of risk of health damage and subsequent measures proposing for promotion and protection of health of children and youth,
- preparation of expert source materials for health risk evaluation concerning important health aspects of living and working conditions of children and youth,
- conceptual and coordination activity in the sphere of information and integration education activities of children and youth in promotion and protection of health and in the field of making and processing of programs in health informatics and in prevention of mass diseases and health damage of children and youth,
- cooperates with foreign workplaces of similar nature, international organizations and institutions in realization of international programs focused on prevention of risks of health damage of children and youth.
In scope of Department of children and youth hygiene there are 4 working groups established:
- field of protection of health of children and youth,
- field of trends in physical growth and development,
- field of prevention of risk behaviour,
- field of special problems of minority groups
Department of medical microbiology
Department of medical microbiology carries out advanced microbiology diagnostics of selected contagions, introduces and applies new progressive molecular-biological methods into laboratory practice in accordance with new diagnostic standards recommended by WHO and ECDC thus contributing to raising of quality of prevention programs.
Department carries out also other important activities:
- in cooperation with Department of epidemiology PHA SR secures realization of Immunization program in the Slovak Republic and carries out national laboratory surveillance of flu and flu-like diseases, poliomyelitis and diseases which imitate poliomyelitis (ACHO), meningococcal invasive infections, salmonelosis, measles, rubella, parotitis, arboviruses and hemorrhagic fever, keeps national database of resistance of microorganisms on antibiotics
- realizes tasks and recommendations of WHO and EC in elimination, eradication and control of serious infectious diseases,
- takes part in solving of programs and projects of public health and of priority tasks of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic,
- secures international cooperation including required analyses and reports to regional workplaces of specific nets of the EU and WHO
- methodically and expertly guides and coordinates other regional public health authorities in the Slovak Republic in fulfilment of national and also international programs in protection and promotion of health,
- secures preparation of cell cultures for cooperating workplaces at RPHA in Banská Bystrica and Košice,
- provides expert information, consultations and schooling events in diagnostic methods.
In scope of Department of medical microbiology national reference centres (NRC) carry out activities – gathering information on current knowledge in specialized field, monitoring, developing, verifying and introducing to practice new procedures and methods, methodological guiding related workplaces at RPHA in the Slovak Republic.
National reference centres:
- National reference centre for poliomyelitis
- National reference centre for influenza
- National reference centre for morbilli, rubella and parotitis
- National reference centre for meningococci
- National reference centre for monitoring of resistance of microorganisms on antibiotics
- National reference centre for salmonelosis
- National reference centre for arboviruses and haemorrhagic fever
Specialized laboratories in scope of the department:
- laboratory of molecular diagnostics
- laboratory of cell cultures
- laboratory with level of biological security for biofactors 3
- laboratory for diagnostics of respiratory infections of virus etiology
- laboratory for diagnostics of neuroinfections, diseases of cardiovascular system and alimentary tract of virus etiology
- section for securing of laboratory and sanitary activities
Department of health promotion and health education
Department of health promotion and health education fulfils tasks of state in the sphere of public health in the field of promotion and development of health of inhabitants of the Slovak Republic.
Important activities of the department are monitoring of international and national documents, trends and access in the sphere of promotion and development of health of inhabitants in all age groups and monitoring of indicators of health status and health awareness of inhabitants in the Slovak Republic, monitoring of risk factors of health status, relation between health determinants and health of population, monitoring of epidemiology and statistics, political and sociological analyses, recent results from science, research and development from various spheres which could have influence on health promotion of population, monitoring of best professional practice in the sphere of promotion and development of health and comparison with foreign countries.
In scope of its activities department of health promotion and healt education secures these activities:
- analysis and identification of actual needs of Slovak population in relation to maintaining, strengthening and prolonging of health based on determined indicators, information and scientific source materials,
- proposing of priorities and needed interventions (including identification of target groups, selection of the most appropriate methods, means, sources, respectively barriers and obstacles which could influence the process of raising of responsibility of inhabitants for own health on individual level, community level as well as society level founded on evidence-based medicine) in the form of national and international conceptual, strategic, legislation, implementation and assessing documents or creation of source materials for such documents for national activities supporting health of population of the Slovak Republic,
- preparation, coordination, realization and evaluation of programs of health promotion focused on selected target groups of population, coming from approved national and international documents on international, national, regional, town and local level,
- methodically and expertly guides, coordinates activities of RPHA in the Slovak Republic in fulfilment of national tasks in promotion of health, monitoring and evaluation of activities of health promotion of inhabitants carried out in scope of RPHA activities,
- processes and evaluates activities of health counselling centres of RPHA in the Slovak Republic,
- develops methods of informedness raising of wide public on healthy life style.
Department of health promotion and education evaluates impacts of strategies, programs, projects, legislation regulations from the sphere of health promotion on health and supports building of a system of assessment of impacts of legislation, strategic and other documents, programs, projects and regulations of other sectors on health of population.
Department coordinates and fulfils the tasks and projects in scope of National health promotion program, its subprograms with national competence approved by Slovak government which are:
- National program for care of children and youth
- National program for obesity prevention
- National program of mental health
- National program of fight against drugs
- Program of health promotion of disadvantaged communities
- subprograms having character of own programs of RPHA - Mothers' centres, Health-educational acting in children of preschool age – dental hygiene, I am 65+ and I am happy that I live healthy, CINDI program SR.
Other important tasks of the Department:
- conceptual, organizational and educational activities aiming at promotion of obesity prevention and of healthy life style in the population,
- preparation and guarantee of professionalism in educational and media activities focused on obesity prevention, health promotion and healthy life style of inhabitants, organization of expert events and conferences focused on experiences exchange, identification of best practices in health promotion in obesity prevention, in prevention and promotion of health in children and youth, in prevention of chronic noncommunicable diseases, improvement of health of seniors,
- prevention of some social – pathological signs of society such as torture of women and children, drug addiction, suicide prevention, mental health promotion,
- health promotion of disadvantaged groups and coordination and fulfilment of tasks of Program for health promotion of disadvantages communities in Slovakia,
- coordination and fulfilment of tasks and projects of National program for care of children and youth and other national programs regarding health promotion and healthy life style of children and youth in the national context,
- participation in activities related to prevention of chronic noncommunicable diseases, cooperation with RPHA in the SR on the occasion of important world days,
- elaboration of source materials, cooperation with the national centre of health information, Statistical office of the Slovak Republic, Social insurance company for the health indicators and with this related creation and realization of the Report on health status of the inhabitants of the Slovak Republic,
- cooperation with academical, nongovernmental and public organizations on the projects focused on improvement of health consciousness and status of children and youth and on education leading to health promotion of the young generation, cooperation with the sectors of the Slovak government, cooperation with the Office of the government of the SR, Office of the deputy of the Slovak government for Roma population,
- preparation and implementation of legal norms, international guidelines and agreements, realization and participation on the projects of the SR, EU and WHO, international cooperation, exchange of experiences.
In scope of the health promotion and health education department there are 10 working groups for:
- Upgrading of the National program of health promotion in the Slovak Republic.
- Mental health and drug addiction prevention.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of programs and projects in health promotion.
- Promotion of health of seniors.
- Physical activity, prevention of overweight and obesity.
- Health counselling offices.
- Prevention and protection against dental caries.
- Smoking prevention.
- Realization of the Program of health promotion of disadvantaged communities in Slovakia.
- Preparation of the report on health status of the population in the SR.