Non-communicable diseases

Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes are currently the most common cause of deaths worldwide, and account for around 75 percent of deaths in Switzerland.


Improving awareness of rare diseases

Rare diseases. The subject of the 8th international Rare Disease Day in Switzerland this year is "I have a diagnosis. What happens now?" Jean-Marc Nuoffer, Chief Physician in Metabolic Analytics and head of the Interdisciplinary Metabolism Team at the Inselspital in Bern, tells us what it means to go for a long time with no diagnosis and what is urgently needed to improve matters. more


Social disadvantage leads to unequal health opportunities

Health equity. Our health system is based on the fundamental principle of openness and solidarity: it must do justice to the needs of all groups in the population, irrespective of their language, origin, social status and level of education. This means that often a special effort must be made to ensure that the disadvantaged are also provided with basic health-care as well as health promotion and prevention resources. more


At first hand

Editorial. The Swiss population has a long life expectancy and generally enjoys good health. The strengths of our health system include the high quality of care and the wide range of benefi ts covered by the statutory health insurance in this country. Yet there are some distinct differences in the health of various groups within the population – differences that we can infl uence and therefore do not want to accept as a matter of course. Our strategies should make a contribution to mitigating these differences so that we reach out even to the weakest members of society. more


"Diversity is an enrichment and a growing reality."

Interview with Patrick Bodenmann. Equality of opportunity in hospitals does not mean providing a "one size fi ts all" treatment but one tailored to a patient's individual requirements, i.e. treatment that meets the needs of the particular health problem and the particular patient. Patrick Bodenmann is familiar with this important topic, both from a theoretical and practical point of view: as university professor, as co-founder of the Swiss Hospitals for Equity, and as head of a polyclinic at the University Hospital Lausanne. more


The course is set for the new addiction strategy

Addiction policy. Since time immemorial, mankind has consumed psychoactive substances, and what a society considers to be an addiction is continually being renegotiated. Besides substances such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs and medication, there are also new substances such as neuroenhancers, whereas opiates (which had long been prominent in addiction services and policies) have recently become less prominent in Switzerland. In the 1980s and 1990s, answers had to be found to the plight of the open drug scenes. Nowadays, thanks to substituent treatment and harm reduction programmes, the heroin problem has somewhat faded into the background. The massive increase in opioid use in the United States, however, illustrates that ongoing monitoring of such developments remains vital. Besides the lingering problems that occur as a result of high-risk alcohol and tobacco consumption, this also means addressing newer manifestations of dependencies that are unrelated to substances. The National Strategy on Addiction which was launched this year takes on the entire spectrum of dependency and addiction, spanning all types of substances and other kinds of addiction. The strategy views addiction as a comprehensive phenomenon that is affected by interacting biological, psychological and socioeconomic aspects and is also dependent on current consumer trends and cultural behaviours. Together with the NCD Strategy, (1) it replaces the National Prevention Programmes on Alcohol and Tobacco as well as the Package of Drug-Related Measures from 2017 on. more


Important decisions have been made for tobacco prevention

National Tobacco Programme (NTP 2008–2016). "Smoking-related cases of death and disease in Switzerland have been reduced." With this mission, the Federal Council adopted the NTP 2008–2016 in 2008 and commissioned the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) with its implementation. How have tobacco use and prevention developed since then? A review. more


At first-hand

Editorial. When the Prevention Act of 2012 failed in the Council of States, it was not the Act itself that was defeated. At that stage, no one doubted that prevention works. In fact, it failed because of the discussion about the spending freeze, which was somewhat ironic. more


A healthy lifestyle pays off

Leading article. Health is our greatest asset. We become particularly aware of that fact when we are sick. Ensuring good health is a lifelong task, because good health isn't just a matter of fate.It depends to a large extent on our own behaviour and on health-promoting framework conditions. This is precisely the approach taken by the National Prevention Programmes on the risk factors alcohol, tobacco, nutrition and physical activity as well as the Package of Drug-Related Measures. The overriding objective of the past eight years' work was to maintain or improve individual quality of life. We have come a bit closer to achieving this objective so that we can now say that we are on the right track. more


Many goals achieved – mixed outcomes at the political level

Interview with Andreas Balthasar. Andreas Balthasar assesses the alcohol, tobacco, and diet and exercise programmes as well as the package of drug measures after their first period. We asked him about his overall view of the programmes, where he thinks they have been particularly successful, what must be taken into account when establishing the objectives of an evaluation, and what he sees as the challenges for future prevention programmes. more


Looking back at eight years of the National Alcohol Programme

National Alcohol Programme NPA 2008–2016. Alcohol is a part of our culture – a glass of red wine with dinner, a little champagne as a toast, or a beer in the evening. However, alcohol is not a normal consumer product and one needs to learn how to deal with it. Although most people know how to drink responsibly, about one in five people drink too much, too often or at the wrong time. About 50% of all alcohol is drunk by 11 percent of the population. Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the major risk factors for chronic diseases. It has harmful consequences for society and increases the rate of traffic accidents. The annual costs for the Swiss population are about CHF 4.2 billion*. In order to address this problem, the National Alcohol Programme (NPA) was established in 2008, with the slogan: "If you drink alcoholic beverages, you do so without harming yourself or others." more