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Health strategy

Cancer and heart disease prevention to be boosted

Joint efforts are planned to help prevent a further increase in chronic diseases among the Swiss population. The cabinet has agreed a joint strategy with the cantonal authorities and the public sector.

Interior Minister Alain Berset, whose portfolio includes health matters, said so called non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were the main challenge, as they were responsible for about 80% of total health costs.

“They are the primary cause of death and one person in four suffers from one or several chronic illnesses,” Berset told a news conference on Wednesday.

The prevention strategy focuses on cancer, diabetes, cardio-vascular and muscular illnesses as well as chronic problems of the respiratory system.

Figures from 2011 show that these illnesses alone caused costs of more than CHF25 billion ($26.1 billion).

Berset said that given parliament’s refusal to legislate on prevention and a steady increase in the number of people suffering from NCDs, the strategy was a pragmatic way to tackle the problem.

“We can’t just sit idle. Today 2.2 million people in Switzerland suffer from one or several chronic diseases,” he added.

Information campaign

The president of the cantonal health directors, Philippe Perrenoud, said the prevention strategy was a key aim for the cantonal authorities, which are mainly responsible for health issues.

He said the strategy would allow all the country’s 26 cantons to launch health awareness and information campaigns and boost promotion of health at the workplace.

A set of prevention measures is to be established by the end of this year.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch



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