Vulnerable groups

Certain sectors of the population are particularly vulnerable in terms of harm to health, owing either to their physical or emotional constitution (e.g. disability, mental illness, addictive disorder, pregnancy, advanced age, migration background, etc.) or to their socio-economic situation.


Federal Council decides on further measures to counter female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation is a violation of human rights and a criminal offence in Switzerland. The Federal Council therefore intends to continue its efforts to counter it. This includes in particular support for measures undertaken by a network that opposes female genital mutilation. more


"Strengthening health skills cannot be the task of public health policy alone."

Six questions for Stefan Spycher. Health skills are a key factor in the physical and mental wellbeing of the individual; they reduce pressure on the health system and consequently on society as a whole. But how can health policy help to establish and develop these skills in all people, and what is the state doing specifically to improve equality of opportunity? Stefan Spycher, Head of the Health Policy Directorate and Vice Director of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) provides some answers. more


Reducing healthcare-associated infections in hospitals and care homes

The NOSO strategy. An estimated 70,000 people contract infections in Swiss hospitals and nursing homes every year, and some 2,000 die as a result. In late 2015, Switzerland will announce its first ever national strategy to counter this problem, the NOSO strategy. The objective is to enable standardised monitoring of these healthcare-associated infections, control outbreaks and to strengthen preventive measures. more


At first hand

Editorial Andrea Arz de Falco. The French general and statesman Charles de Gaulle once said: "Old age is a shipwreck". This comparison accurately illustrates what people long thought about old age. In earlier times life was often no more than a fragment, people regularly died young. But those who lived to an advanced age often experienced it as an affliction, once the work and family that had given meaning to their lives were gone and physical ailments and loneliness increasingly set in. more


"No longer exhaust every practical possibility, but focus on the patient's peace of mind"

Palliative care/publication. The term "palliative care" is used when the focus of treatment is no longer on cure or life-prolonging measures, but on alleviation of suffering and on the patient's quality of life. Palliative care is playing an increasingly important role in care of the ageing. A brochure is available that provides a touching portrait of this approach in practice, with sensitive contributions from patients and health professionals. more


Sexual health and transgender people: uncharted waters?

A neglected and vulnerable group. Many international studies reveal a high level of vulnerability in the health of the transgender community, especially to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. more


Dementia – a challenge for society and the healthcare system

National Dementia Strategy 2014– 2017. Today about 110,000 persons suffering from dementia are living in Switzerland. And their numbers are growing. The National Dementia Strategy aims to provide a targeted response to this growing challenge. more


"Counselling trans people is only a small, but nonetheless vital piece of the puzzle."

Forum Hannes Rudolph. A special unit for trans people (Fachstelle für Transmenschen) has been in service at Checkpoint Zurich since March 2012. It was set up in cooperation with the Transgender Network Switzerland (TGNS) to advise people, whose gender identity does not match that assigned to them by birth. It is the only paid unit in German-speaking Switzerland that offers trans people independent counselling by other trans people, though there is a second such unit at Checkpoint Vaud to serve French-speaking Switzerland. Besides counselling trans people themselves, the unit also provides advice for their relatives and people who, for other reasons (e. g. professional), have questions about trans* issues (the asterisk refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum). more


At first hand

Editorial Steven Derendinger. The first Swiss HIV & STI forum on the sexual health of trans people, which was organised by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), marks not only an increased awareness of this topic, but also an important and welcome change in its development. more


Health for schools – schools for health

Lead article. According to the National Health Report 2008, education is one of the most important socio-economic deter­minants of health. People with a high level of education generally behave in a healthier way, feel healthier and have a longer life expectancy than sectors of the population with little education. Conversely, healthy pupils have been shown to learn more easily and to retain what they have learnt for a longer time. There is therefore an interactive relationship between education and health. more