Research, evaluation, monitoring
To ensure the greatest possible effectiveness, measures that are aimed at promoting health and preventing diseases must be based on sound scientific foundations. Evaluation is used to support strategy development, achieve optimum effectiveness, promote organisational learning and provide accountability to the public.
The Do-Health study is looking at ways of improving the chances of ageing in good health. The largest-ever European study of health in old age is nearing completion. The initial results show the following: half of the participating senior citizens from Switzerland belong to the category of “healthy agers”, meaning that they have no chronic diseases and are in good physical and mental health. more
There is a real risk of antibiotics losing their effectiveness. Unless an interdisciplinary approach is adopted, it will be impossible to combat one of the most pressing problems currently facing medicine – antibiotic resistance. This is why Switzerland’s nationwide Strategy on Antibiotic Resistance (StAR) covers human medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture and the environment. StAR is a good example of the Health in All Policies approach. more
Communication between health professionals and their patients is an important basis for successful treatment. Particularly in the field of health promotion and disease prevention, the right kind of communication can be a decisive factor in bringing about change. Sabina Hunziker, Professor of Medical Communication at Basel’s University Hospital, therefore attaches great importance to the initial and continuing training of professionals. more
Interview with Barbara Widmer. Our health data are particularly sensitive, yet today everyone and everything is tracked. Can we still protect the data that mHealth apps acquire from us and store? In our discussion, the lawyer and expert on data protection issues tells us where the greatest data protection risks lie with mHealth apps and what we can still do to make our data more secure. more
Forum Prof. Dr. med. Brigitta Danuser. Work-related health problems are common; indeed, all surveys show that they have been growing rapidly since the 1990s. In the 2012 Swiss Health Survey, 60 percent of respondents stated that they suffered from stress, and around 20 percent claimed to experience chronic stress that affected their health. The risk of depression is five times higher among chronically stressed individuals. According to an estimate of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), stress generates costs of ten billion francs a year for employers. Every second respondent in the general population had experienced back pain in the previous four weeks, with 18 percent of them receiving medical treatment for the problem. In surveys of the working population, 18 percent report work-related back pain, and 13 percent (or over 50% in 2010) other work-related musculoskeletal pain. The economic costs generated by back pain amount to between 1.6 and 2.3 percent of Swiss gross domestic product. more
Editorial Alberto Marcacci. As we all know, living healthily is not always easy – and it takes energy to do so. Promoting health is a complex undertaking. But how can people be motivated to lead healthier lives while preserving their personal freedom? Answers are to be found in the definition of public health as formulated by Winslow in 1920 and modified by Acheson in 1988 – a definition that has lost none of its topicality over the years: public health "is the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting physical health and efficiency through organised community efforts." more
Lead article. Vaccinations are incontestably among the most effective means of prevention in the healthcare sector. Their history goes back a long way – but has very recent chapters as well. more
Forum Dr. med. Nicole Pellaud. As paediatricians who look after growing children, we concern ourselves particularly with the recommendations for and administration of the vaccines. We already broach the topic of vaccination at the first visit when infants are one month old. At the age of two months, now no longer protected by their mother's antibodies, infants receive their first doses of vaccine, particularly in order to build up immunity to whooping cough and Haemophilus infections, two diseases that can cause serious complications in young children. more
Position of the Federal Office of Public Health. The Federal Office of Public Health commissioned evaluations of the 2008–2012 national prevention programmes on alcohol, tobacco, diet & physical activity and of the Swiss government’s Package of Measures to Reduce Drug Problems 2006–2011 (MaPaDro III). The evaluators argued strongly in favour of prolonging the programmes and proposed a number of improvements. The recommendations have been incorporated into the programmes and some have already been implemented. more
"Prevention measures always require careful weighing up of the demands of health protection and economic freedom."
Ursula Koch answers five questions. The Swiss government has prolonged the national prevention programmes on diet & physical activity, alcohol and tobacco until 2016. What does Ursula Koch, joint head of the National Prevention Programmes Division of the Federal Office of Public Health, think of this decision and of the role of prevention in our society? more