According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment Centre for Healthy Living is a prime example of how the national government has taken up its stewardship role within the health promotion landscape for effective health promotion. The WHO has published a news story illustrating the Centre’s work prominently on its Health Systems Response website. Strong features of the Centre include building sustainable capacity for professionals and the alliances with partners.
The aim of the Centre is to contribute to the health of all Dutch citizens by ensuring coherence among health-promoting organisations and by improving the quality and efficiency of health promotion in the Netherlands. It encourages systematic, informed approaches, supports local professionals and policy-makers and coordinates health promotion. On request by the WHO, RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has written a policy brief, which describes the Dutch approach to the prevention of chronic diseases and shares knowledge and lessons learned.
Effective Lifestyle Interventions
Together with local and national partners, the Centre gathers, enriches and disseminates knowledge, which is then “translated” into practical tools that can be applied at grassroots level. An important success factor of the Centre is that it collaborates with six national knowledge institutes on the quality assessment of recognised lifestyle interventions in a broad field ranging from prevention to long-term care. The interventions and the results are published on a web portal www.Loketgezondleven.nl that gives health promotion professionals access to the best available interventions for their own municipality or organisation. In addition to effective interventions, the Centre also provides good practices, materials and tools about, for example, citizen involvement or promoting a healthy living environment. The Centre also organises local work sessions, workshops and working visits in collaboration with regional health municipalities or national partners.
Each month, an average of 14 000 individuals access it on the Gezondleven.nl web portal, and 5000 individuals access the intervention database. The database, in which more than 350 recognized interventions are included, is consulted monthly by an average of 5,000 unique visitors. In the policy brief, the Centre shares its knowledge and experience in effective support of national health promotion. In addition to the policy brief, the WHO also published a short story about the Centre on their website. On 16 and 17 April, the Dutch approach will be highlighted at a high-level conference entitled Health Systems Respond to NCDs : experience in the European Region of the WHO.