The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the collective Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) in collaboration with GGD GHOR, the NIVEL Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research and ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre – joined in the Network for Health Research in Disasters (GOR) – have developed a new monitor: the Integrated Health Monitor COVID-19. This wide-ranging, practice-based health study offers insight into how the COVID-19 crisis has affected physical and mental health in the general population of the Netherlands. The study will start in September 2021 and continue for five years. It is made possible by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).
Good information as the basis for formulating COVID-19 policy
The Integrated Health Monitor COVID-19 gives substance to ‘Health Research in Disasters’, one of the tasks of the national government in the event of a health crisis. The aim of the monitoring programme is to provide advice and support to local and regional policy-makers and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) based on the results. By understanding how people feel as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, at the national and local levels, the Ministry and the municipal authorities will be able to determine more effectively where to focus their attention in the support they provide. Research results will be shared for each completed sub-study throughout the course of the Integrated Health Monitor COVID-19.
Broad monitoring by means of different research structures and methods
The Integrated Health Monitor COVID-19 looks at the health of people in the Netherlands in general and of specific and vulnerable target groups in particular. The study will rely on various sources for monitoring purposes, including the health monitors of the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), GGD GHOR, RIVM and Statistics Netherlands (CBS), as well as the records from general practitioners gathered by NIVEL. To support our research, COVID-19 effects will be a specific focus in these ongoing health monitors over the next five years. Data will also be collected within existing panels in short-cycle assessments, and the Public Mental Healthcare Monitor (OGGZ-Monitor) will be established for vulnerable groups. Finally, we will do a literature review to explore the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.
First sub-studies launched
In mid-September 2021, the COVID-19 Health Monitor for Youth 2021 (CGM Youth 2021) was launched as one of the first components within the overall study. The GGDs are conducting the CGM Youth 2021 in cooperation with the secondary schools in the regions. Pupils in the second and fourth years of secondary school will receive an invitation to take part between the end of September and the end of November 2021. The results of this survey study will be available in mid-2022 and will provide an overview of the health, well-being and lifestyle of young people and the impact of COVID-19.
At the same time as the CGM Youth 2021, an initial panel survey of teenagers and young adults aged 12-25 years was launched, focusing particularly on mental health. We will also prepare the reports of the initial GP registrations.
In addition to the aforementioned parties within the Network for Health Research in Disasters (GOR), various external parties were involved in developing the monitor and conducting the research, including: the Netherlands Youth Institute (NJI), the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa), the Trimbos Institute and Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Acting on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) is the commissioning client for the COVID-19 health study and facilitates connections between ongoing studies.