Regional Authority of Public Health Banska Bystrica

The Regional Authority of Public Health (RAPH) in Banská Bystrica operates under Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic. The authority was created in 1953 and belongs to the network of the regional authorities in the country. The position of the authority, the tasks and connections with other regional authorities, with local authorities, the state health officers and other state administrators are defined in Public Health Act (before the Human Health Protection Act). The authority has been responsible for the public health policy implementation on the local, district and regional level predominantly in the Central Slovakia. The activities are aimed for the benefit of the public, the goal is to protect and improve the health of the population.

The authority has faced serious challenges in orientation, structure and activities in most recent years. Shifts in the pattern of work organization from individual to teamwork and changes in priorities from sanitary work to health protection, prevention and health promotion are visible.

The authority employs about 150 employees - 10 percents are medical doctors, 30 percents are university graduated specialist (mainly public health specialists, ingeneers, chemists), and the rest are lawyers, registered assistants of hygiene, epidemiology, laboratory workers, nurses, and other personnel.

The expenditures are covered from the state budget and partly from grants. The authority is divided into 4 divisions and 13 departments (see Organizational structure).

The main areas of activities are hygiene, epidemiology, microbiology, health education and health statistics. The Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic established in the RAPH National Reference Centres dealing with:

  • Pertussis and Parapertussis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Health Impact Assessment of Outdoor Air Pollution and Indoor Air Pollution in Non-industrial Indoor Places
  • Human Exposure Assessment and Health Risk Assessment
  • Information Centre for Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons
  • Pneumococcal Diseases
  • Laboratory Diagnostics in Human Biomonitoring
  • Rickettsioses

International activities

The important position of the authority is thanks participation in international projects namely PHARE EC/HEA-18/91 "Study of the Health Impact of Environmental Pollution - Nováky areas" (successfully finished in 1995), WHO program called NIPEH (National Integrated Program on Environment and Health), where the authority has realized studies in polluted areas of Žiar nad Hronom and Ružomberok in comparison to the area of Banská Bystrica. The authority has been involved in the EC study CESAR "Research Project on the Relationship between Air Quality and Health" (CEC Contract No. 94-0472.01) performed in years 1994 - 1997. The authority has been appointed by the chief hygienist of the Ministry of Health a consulting centre for the WHO CINDI (Countrywide Integrated Noncomunicable Diseases Intervention) Program in the Slovak Republic, the authority has also performed this program since 1991 in the district of Banská Bystrica, which is a demonstration district for this program for the Slovak Republic. The authority has been chosen as a centre for the WHO GEENET (Global Environmental Epidemiology Network in Europe) in the Slovak Republic by WHO in 1994. The authority is centre for the Inco-Copernicus study "Occupation, environment and lung cancer".

Most recent international projects are Occupation, environment, lifestyle and lung cancer, cancer of the oral cavity and larynx, oesophageal cancer performed in cooperation with I.A.R.C. / WHO, Lyon as multicentric studies. The cancer epidemiology studies are of great interest in our institute and some other studies had been compleated e.g. Chromosomal abberations and cancer; Diesel exhaust exposure and cancer risk (feasibility study), Follow-up study of the cancer epidemiological studies, etc.

In the framework of the US-Slovak scientific joint program, the Environmental Health Risk Assessment Project had been granted, where RAPH Banská Bystrica and Harvard School of Public Health were the counterparts.

A longer tradition (since 1992) has the cooperation with EPRI, Palo Alto, CA on arsenic bioavailability and occupational exposure studies.

Participation in international research studies