01.07.2012 National prevention programmes: many evaluation recommendations already implemented

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.

Pictures National prevention programmes: many evaluation recommendations already implemented


The findings of the evaluation refer mainly to the 2008–2010 period, and therefore the extent to which the national prevention programmes have achieved their goals cannot yet be fully assessed. The evaluation comes to the conclusion that the relevance of all the programmes to health policy and the economy as a whole is undisputed and that the programmes must be prolonged because the underlying problems continue to require action and because prevention measures take time to be effective.

Ongoing improvements
The interim findings of the evaluation have been incorporated on an ongoing basis and, wherever possible, improvements already instituted during the evaluation process. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has taken the evaluation recommendations on board in all areas, reaching decisions on implementing them or even already implementing them entirely or in part. In May 2012, the Swiss government gave its approval to extending the programmes by a further four years until 2016 (see article above). This means that the preparatory work completed to date can be secured and the continuity and sustainability of the prevention activities guaranteed.

No merging of programmes
An important interim finding of the evaluation was the recognition that merging the prevention programmes with a view to creating synergies would not be constructive, at least not at the present time. But efforts will be made to achieve better cooperation and coordination between the programmes with regard to the different measures. In fact, the potential for improving coordination between the programmes and among the players at the national, cantonal and municipal level has not yet been fully exploited. The Prevention Act promises to bring about a substantial improvement in this respect.

Package of drug-related measures extended until 2016

MaPaDro lll. The Swiss government’s 2006–2011 package of measures to reduce drug problems (MaPaDro III) has been extended for a further five years until 2016.

MaPaDro implements the "fourfold", or "four-pillar", policy (prevention, harm reduction, treatment and law enforcement/repression) that is the Swiss government's response to the drugs problems of the 1980s. The third package of measures has been effective with regard to its three overriding goals: "Reduce drug use", "Reduce the negative consequences for drug users" and "Reduce the negative consequences for society". But despite these successes, consumption of psychoactive substances continues to be a burden on public health. It is therefore important to guarantee the continuity of drug policy.
On the basis of evaluation recommendations, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), together with the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) and the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ), have prolonged MaPaDro III until the end of 2016. In the light of this decision, the action plan for implementing MaPaDro has been revised and brought into line with changes in the underlying problem. The focus will be on strengthening measures for early identification and early intervention, on prevention and harm reduction in connection with "designer" and "party" drugs and on increasingly drawing on law enforcement by integrating the Federal Office of Police's measures.

Fight against HIV and other STIs
NPHS 2011–2017. The National Programme on HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections 2011–2017 (NPHS) is continuing the successful prevention work of the last 25 years in the field of HIV/AIDS while also taking the latest findings into account.

For the first time, the programme includes other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in addition to HIV. The main goal is to significantly reduce the number of new infections with HIV and other STIs and to avoid long-term effects that are harmful to health. Efforts will be made to bring about a cultural change in the next few years, so that voluntarily informing previous sexual partners of a positive diagnosis will be a matter of course.


Ursula Koch and Roy Salveter, joint heads of the National Prevention Programmes Division,
, roy.salveter@bag.admin.ch

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