Healthcare policy

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.


"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


Strengthening resources means establishing the skills needed to make healthier choices at an early stage

Health skills. The federal government is seeking to strengthen the resources available to the population by enabling people to learn health skills and to take responsibility for their own health. In line with the Federal Council's "Health 2020" strategy, the Federal Office of Public Health wants to increase equality of opportunity and improve the options available to the most vulnerable groups in society for achieving and maintaining good health. more


"Our aim is to form a resolute alliance for effective prevention in the area of non-communicable diseases."

Seven questions for Pascal Strupler. According to the Swiss Health Report recently published by the Swiss Health Observatory Obsan, the Swiss population is by and large in good health. Life expectancy in our country is the second highest in the world after Japan. However, the fact that people are living longer is creating some major challenges for the Swiss health service. Chronic disorders such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and dementia are becoming more prevalent. Health promotion and prevention are taking on an increasingly important role because many of these conditions are influenced by the individual's lifestyle – by factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and the amount of physical activity we get. How is the Federal Office of Public Health facing up to this challenge? We asked its Director, Pascal Strupler. more


At first hand

Editoral René Stamm It's been 20 years since "spectra", the health promotion and prevention newsletter published by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), was launched. Born out of a desire to raise the profile of the FOPH's projects, specifically in the fields of drugs and AIDS, the form and content of "spectra" have changed continually in the past two decades, while always reflecting the changes taking place in society. more


"When spectra first came out, it was all about sex and crime – HIV and heroin in other words."

Five questions for Christoph Hoigné. This summer the "spectra" newsletter will be celebrating its 20th birthday. The man who right from the word go has been responsible for editing and producing the magazine on behalf of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is Christoph Hoigné, 48, a journalist and photographer from Berne. What are his thoughts on the past and the future of "spectra"? more


Support for professionals in the health service, education, social services and law enforcement who deal with people with addiction problems

Addiction questions in the front-line services. Every day, people from various public services come into contact with clients who are at risk of becoming addicted or are already addicted. How should they handle these clients? How should they address the addiction problem? How should they offer help, and in what form? The "Addiction questions in the front-line services" project investigates these questions and supports professionals who come into contact with people with addiction problems in their everyday work. more


Working together to create a society in which fewer people fall ill or die from the effects of smoking

National Tobacco Programme. On 9 May 2012, the Swiss Federal Council extended the National Tobacco Programme by a further four years to the end of 2016. This measure ensures that prevention activities already launched have a long-term effect. more


Reducing the negative effects of alcohol consumption for the individual and society as a whole

National Alcohol Programme. The second phase of the National Alcohol Programme (NPA) got under way in 2013 and will run until 2016. This year the focus has been on continuing and strengthening the alliance-based approach. more


The Swiss government is drawing up two forward-looking strategies for the prevention of addiction and non-communicable diseases

Strategies. Non-communicable diseases are currently the most common cause of deaths worldwide. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, 74.6 percent of deaths among men and 75.9 percent among women in Switzerland in 2011 were due to four groups of non-communicable diseases: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and dementia. The Swiss government and the cantons are currently working together to draw up a national strategy for the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Tackling the phenomenon of addiction on a more comprehensive basis is the primary objective of the National Strategy on Addiction that is being drawn up in response to a mandate of the Swiss government, to be completed by spring 2015. The overriding goal is to secure a comprehensive and integrated package of addiction management services that includes medical care, harm reduction, counselling and treatment and promotes the social (re-)integration and health rehabilitation of addicts. The National Strategy on Addiction will guarantee continuity and also define a framework for action across all kinds of addiction. The two new strategies will replace the national programmes on alcohol, tobacco, drugs and diet & physical activity, which finish at the end of 2016. more


Work – a health risk

Work-related health problems. Road workers with damaged hearing, hairdressers with chemical allergies or carpenters with asbestos-impaired lungs: Suva (the Swiss Accident Insurance Fund) handles around 3000 such work-related insurance cases each year. In addition to these relatively clearly defined "occupational diseases", however, there are an infinitely larger number of dis­orders that are also – though not only – caused by work: "work-related health problems". Such physical and mental disorders, for instance stress and back pain, have increased massively in recent decades. Prevention of work-related health problems requires close cooperation between employers, prevention specialists and insurers. more