The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport commissioned RIVM with the nationwide direction and supervision of prevention and screening programmes. RIVM set up the Centre for Population Screening (Centrum voor Bevolkingsonderzoek, CvB) in 2006 to carry out that task.


RIVM CvB's role

The RIVM Centre for Population Screening directs and coordinates the eight national population screening programmes offered by the government. It is also responsible for the National Influenza Prevention Programme. The centre connects the parties in policy making and implementation. It organises and supports the network proactively and aims to further develop current population screening and successfully implement new screening. RIVM has a nationwide coordinating role, meaning it ensures that high-quality population screening is provided for all participants in the Netherlands and that screening is accessible and affordable throughout the whole country.
In consultation with partner organisations, the Centre for Population Screening then produces, pools and provides access to the knowledge and expertise required. Aside from coordination and management, the centre is responsible for the tasks listed below:

  • Finances population screening
  • Quality assessment and quality assurance
  • Ensures proper information management
  • Monitors the quality of screening programmes and evaluates other aspects
  • Communicates with the public, professionals and stakeholders
  • Pools knowledge and innovates
  • Advises and informs policymakers

Key players among the authorities

The objective of screening programmes is to achieve health benefits and offer citizens treatment options through a familiar, accessible, safe and integrated range of high-quality population screening at reasonable cost. A large number of partner organisations each with its own responsibilities and authority is involved in the chain of population screening. Thanks to the joint efforts of organisations and professionals, the population screening contributes to a healthier society.

It is imperative that the organisations in the chain keep the common objectives of population screening in mind. As the supervisor, the Centre for Population Screening ensures optimal collaboration by all parties in the chain. The centre also aims for a high level of quality (effective, demand-driven, secure, nationwide uniformity and innovative), accessibility (accessible, timely implementation, free choice), affordability (cost transparent, efficient and cost-effective) and good integration and links to the healthcare system. CvB monitors the collective interests in a business-like, unifying way. All population screening programmes use national programme committees, whose members are concerned stakeholders who advise the centre. The Centre for Population Screening is the knowledge hub for the implementation of population screening programmes.

The Centre's partners include:

  • Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (commissioning body)
  • Other governmental parties such as the Health Council of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), and the Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ)
  • Implementing organisations, including the regional screening organisations for the screening programmes for cancer, the regional centres for prenatal screening and RIVM's Professional and branch associations
  • Patient associations
  • Association of Dutch Health Insurers
  • and many other organisations
This figure illustrates which parties are involved in the process of preparation, policy making and implementation of screenings. In the preparation ZonMW defines and monitors the outlines of health research whereafter the Health Council advises ministers and parliament on public health. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is the party which determines the policy on health issues. The implementation of the screening starts with the RIVM-CvB which gives direction and manages this nationwide. The implem

The Health Council of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) have a task that is primarily preparatory, for new population screening programmes and far-reaching changes to the existing programmes. The Health Council is an independent scientific advisory body and ZonMw is an independent executive body that finances research into health.
The RIVM Centre for Population Screeningprovides advice on the setup and aspects of the implementation. Final decision-making is done by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). The Healthcare Inspectorate has a supervisory role. More information about the tasks of each governmental body can be found in the policy frameworks at the bottom of this page.