National Prevention Programme to kick off in February 2014

'Health matters'. That’s the title of a new National Prevention Programme proposed by Health Minister Edith Schippers and State Secretary for Health Martin van Rijn. The Cabinet today agreed to the three-year programme, which will run from 2014 to 2016 and be a joint effort by six Ministries, municipalities, businesses and civil society organisations.

The National Prevention Programme will encompass a wide range of activities, from promoting health and preventing illness at home, school and work, and making prevention more prominent in health care, to maintaining the current, high level of health protection.

Health at home, school and work

A healthy school environment will help prevent diabetes, overweight, smoking, drinking, depression and lack of exercise in young people. The target is to create 850 ‘healthy schools’ by 2015, resulting in lower rates of childhood obesity, fewer teenagers smoking or binge drinking and more young people getting enough exercise.

A neighbourhood approach to improve vulnerable people’s health has had good results so far and municipalities will be encouraged to scale up these efforts. The National Prevention Programme will also target the workplace. Ensuring that employees are fit and that they stay healthy can be achieved through, for instance, raising awareness of health and safety at work and creating conditions that make it easier for workers to combine work with informal home care duties.

Prevention in health care

In the future, keeping people healthy will become an ever more important goal for the healthcare sector. This can be achieved through, for example, more accurate early detection, preventing depression and the ‘Dementia Delta Plan’. Healthcare stakeholders participating in the Agenda for Care have adopted prevention as one of their priorities and will be presenting concrete proposals for prevention activities in neighbourhoods and at work before the end of the year.

Health protection

In order to maintain the current high level of health protection and stay alert to new risks, the National Prevention Programme will also devote attention to such issues as antimicrobial resistance, zoonoses (animal diseases that can also infect humans), changes to the national vaccination programme, food safety and hearing damage.

Kickoff meeting in February 2014

All the parties involved in the National Prevention Programme – central government, municipalities, businesses, sports organisations, healthcare stakeholders and civil society organisations – are working hard to flesh out the Programme’s goals, agreements and actions. They will jointly present the result of their efforts at the National Prevention Programme kickoff meeting in February 2014.