Health Education in Germany
Health education is in the best interests of national health policy. Being an interdisciplinary and ongoing task, it is implemented by all levels of government in Germany in a process involving the affected parties. The Federal Centre for Health Education performs this task at the national level as a specialist authority in the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG). BZgA was established by the Decree of 20.7.1967, according to which it has the following tasks, in particular:
- Elaboration of principles and guidelines relating to the content and methods of practical health education,
- Vocational training and continuing education of persons working in the field of health education,
- Coordination and intensification of health education in Germany,
- International collaboration.
Key fields of education of BZgA
In fulfilling our commission, we gear our activities to the urgent health problems of relevance to prevention prevailing at any one time, and to the progress made in the development of health education theories and methods.
The principal elements of our work are currently as follows:
1) We contribute to the development and implementation of national action plans and programmes
- For preventing infectious diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases,
- For drug and addiction prevention (focusing on tobacco and alcohol prevention),
- For promoting child and youth health (healthy development; nutrition, exercise, mental health).
2) We perform statutory tasks
- Sex education and family planning (basis: Pregnancy and Family Assistance Act),
- Education on the subject of organ and tissue donation (basis: Section 2, Transplantation Act),
- Education regarding blood and plasma donation (basis: Section 3 Para. 4, Transfusion Act).
3) We perform national joint tasks with a population-wide impact that are necessary for implementing the key fields of education
- Evaluation and quality assurance
- Coordination and cooperation
Objective: preventive healthcare and health preservation
Preventive healthcare and health preservation are the two top-priority goals of our work. Our measures and programmes contribute to reducing the incidence of new cases of disease in our key fields of education (primary prevention) and to improving the early detection of disease (secondary prevention), as well as to generally strengthening health-related potentials (health promotion). To this end, we strengthen people’s knowledge, attitudes and abilities, enabling them to behave healthily, recognise and avoid risks, and thus assume responsibility for their own health and that of others.
Effective and efficient prevention and health promotion
Achieving the aforementioned goals requires continuous, long-term measures that are planned and implemented in a target-oriented, professionally competent manner on the basis of scientific findings.
The fields of market observation, quality assurance and strategy development are of special importance with a view to effectiveness and efficiency. In addition, clear priorities have to be set, and the target groups and subject areas precisely defined. The aim is for the resources employed to achieve the greatest possible benefit in terms of health.
Acting on behalf of the Federal Government in 2008, the Wissenschaftsrat (German Council of Science and Humanities) evaluated the Federal Centre for Health Education as a federal institution having research & development tasks. The expert statement refers to BZgA as an efficient institution that works successfully in the field of health education and whose scientifically based campaigns make an essential contribution to health prevention in Germany.
You can find the statement by the Wissenschaftsrat (PDF file) here.