The health of mothers and children

Project completed
A newborn under a fluorescent lamp
Improved medical equipment should reduce the infant mortality rate. © SECO/SDC SECO/SDC

Switzerland is supporting the continuing training of medical personnel and the modernisation of antiquated hospital infrastructures in 27 Lithuanian hospitals, and increasing energy efficiency in at least 24 of them. These measures will greatly improve overall conditions for women in childbirth and for their newborn babies.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Improving social security
Hospital modernisation
01.11.2011 - 14.06.2017
CHF  26’600’000

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.


Birth rate in Lithuania has been decreasing since 1992. In 2006 it was reported at 9.2 per 1’000 inhabitants (one of the lowest in the EU), but the rate of infant mortality was 6.84 deaths per 1’000 live births. Perinatal mortality - 7.26 deaths per 1’000 live births - and the neonatal mortality rate stood at 3.92 per 1’000 live births. These rates are well above EU average rates, which are 5.06, 6.16 and 3.33 accordingly. Most of infants (37 %) died from diseases that emerged during the perinatal period while 34 % died from congenital defects. Therefore, the National Health Programme of Lithuania requires that special attention must be given to the reduction of the infant mortality rate. The measures envisaged by this Programme will contribute towards achieving the level of health related indicators reported by EU 15 countries.


The overall objective of the Programme is to meet the World Health Organisation’s recommendations, EU directives and international standards regarding neonatal and perinatal health care services in Lithuania.

Specific objectives are to reach:

  • Pregnant women and maternal mortality rate down to 5.36 (per 1000 live births), neonatal mortality rate down to 2.63.
  • 20’000 delivering women have access to upgraded quality services.
  • Improved patients’ satisfaction with conditions in hospital.


Target groups


  • Medical staff working in perinatal and neonatal sectors
  • Pregnant women
  • Delivering women
  • Neonates and infants




  • Medical equipment will be improved in 22 hospitals
  • Special transport vehicles for newborns are being provided for three hospitals located in isolated areas
  • Specialists are being trained in the use of modern technologies
  • Diagnosis and treatment guidelines are being developed to standardise and systematise the most important pathological conditions
  • A comprehensive database of patient data is being developed

Achieved results:  

  • The continuous training of medical personnel and the modernization of the infrastructure in 27 Lithuanian hospitals
  • 24 hospitals increased as well there energy efficiency
  • Essential medical equipment as well as equipment for specialized obstetric and neo-natological services was supplied to 27 hospitals
  • Recent patient satisfaction surveys showed that patient satisfaction has almost doubled compared with 2010 (28% in 2010 and 51% in 2016)
  • Neonatal mortality rate decreased from 2.5 in 2012 to 2.3 in 2016

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
  • Central State of South East

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    26’600’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    26’562’644
Project phases

Phase 1 01.11.2011 - 14.06.2017   (Completed)