Visibility in society
Visitor numbers rose in 2018 for both the Dutch and the English site. These figures cannot be compared to 2017, since a different measurement method was used in 2018. However, it is possible to compare the number of page views; pageviews for the Dutch site dropped by about 25% and pageviews for the English site rose by 10%. The decline for the Dutch site is because in 2018 only data for www.rivm.nl was included*. In addition, there is a growing trend for visitors to only visit one page at a time.
The number of times that RIVM was mentioned in Dutch newspapers went up significantly compared to 2017; this increase was primarily seen in mentions in the headlines or the lead of an article.
The number of followers on social media and the number of online mentions also increased, varying from 7% on Twitter to 90% on Instagram.
Pages viewed most frequently
- The Dutch homepage of www.rivm.nl is still the most frequently visited page on the website. (Please note: the figures below are for the Dutch pages on the various topics, since the Dutch version of the website attracts significantly more traffic.)
- The page about ‘Flu – current situation’ shows how many people per 100,000 residents visited the GP with flu-like symptoms and which viruses are currently most common. This is a popular page during flu season.
- ‘Meningococcal disease’ has been a frequently visited page since the death of a student. This page continued to attract public attention, even after the first reports in the media had ebbed away.
- The page about ‘Ultraviolet index’ also sees a spike in visitors every year, as soon as the days get longer.
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease Q&A and chicken pox Q&A are often checked by childcare centres during periods when those diseases are prevalent in such facilities.
- The page about Lyme disease attracts extra interest every year, from the start of ‘Tick Week’ until the temperature starts dropping again and autumn commences.
- The pages on population screening for cervical cancer and bowel cancer are visited around the time when the invitations are sent.
- The peaks in visits to the Norovirus page can often be retraced to outbreaks, for instance at camp-sites
Questions asked by the public through RIVM’s Info Mailbox
In 2018 RIVM was asked over 8,000 questions by the public. That represents an increase of approximately 12% compared to 2017 (7145).
The number of questions about infectious diseases increased by a quarter (24%).Specifically, the number of questions about the National Immunisation Programme increased by over 50%.The number of questions about infectious diseases remained more or less the same.
The number of questions about public health and health services also increased by a quarter (24%) in 2018. This increase is mostly due to the number of questions about population screenings and the flu jab (1,464 and 53 respectively in 2017).
Compared to 2017, the number of questions about environment and safety decreased by almost 10% (988 and 366 respectively in 2017).
It is striking to note that three-quarters of these questions come from the general public (i.e. private citizens). General questions to RIVM are the other way around: many questions from professionals are about conferences or invoices, and these are considered general questions.
Questions asked by the public by phone
The RIVM Information Centre is the first point of contact for people who want to ask RIVM a question by phone. It was launched in May 2018. In the first eight months, most of the questions (a quarter) were about the National Immunisation Programme, followed by meningococcal disease and bowel cancer (13% and 12% respectively). The remaining half consisted of 5% questions about Environment and Safety, and about equal parts (approx. 15%) questions about infectious diseases, health and general RIVM questions.