Healthcare policy focuses on public health and public healthcare provision. Access to prevention and early identification services and to appropriate healthcare for all sectors of the population is an important basic requirement. Further topics include quality assurance of the services provided and the financial viability, data situation and manageability of the healthcare system.
Editorial Stefan Spycher. Prevention efforts can, if well done, deliver significant health benefits. But are they also cost-effective? Do the benefits of prevention outweigh its costs? How does the cost-benefit ratio of prevention compare with that of curative measures? These questions are justified. But the answers are not easy to find. Analysing the economic benefits of prevention and health-promotion initiatives poses some serious scientific challenges, as a recent literature review of this field has shown. more
The main facts in brief. The aim of the Prevention Law (Präventionsgesetz) is to improve the management of prevention, health promotion and early detection measures in Switzerland. The Law also contains plans for a new federal-level centre of excellence, the Swiss Institute for Prevention and Health Promotion. more
A BIG project for health promotion in prisons. Studies show that prison inmates are affected by infectious diseases more frequently than the general population. The «BIG» project has been set up to combat the problem of infectious diseases in prisons and to bring healthcare in prisons up to the same standard as that available in the community. more
Survey. More and more people in Switzerland are taking steps to protect themselves from flu by improving hygiene. By contrast, the popularity of vaccination has declined, as a representative survey carried out in November 2009 reveals. more
Forum Vlasta Mercier. Switzerland is one of the few industrial countries with no legal framework in place to strengthen and coordinate prevention measures at national level. Given the aging population, medical and technological developments and the increase in chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, mental illnesses), the care sector is likely to see a very significant increase in costs in the near future. However, only part of this cost increase is unavoidable: with improvements to prevention policy and health promotion frameworks, the rise could be cut to a considerable degree. Moreover, a growing number of studies are showing that prevention measures are effective and represent a good investment. more
Editorial Salome von Greyerz. The first attempt to enact a «Federal Prevention Law» failed in 1982 before it even reached the parliamentary debate stage due to opposition from the cantons and trade associations. And even though significant progress has been achieved over the 25 years since then in the fields of substance-abuse policy or HIV prevention, the focus of health policy in this period has been primarily on curative medicine and the financing of the care systems. more