Health Promoting Offices provides a direct and effective link between health development activities and curative medicine.
In 2013 and 2014, 61 HPOs started their work throughout the country from a dedicated grant scheme financed from the European Social Fund – 20 of them being in the most disadvantaged micro-regions of Hungary. This is the first time in Hungary that health promotion and disease prevention organisations working in local communities at the level of micro-regions have been established.
The main idea behind the establishment of the HPOs was to bring low-threshold health promotion, lifestyle and health behaviour change programs as close to people as possible.
The offices provide personal risk assessment of common lifestyle-related risk factors, providing person-oriented health counselling, offering lifestyle programmes and following up on their effectiveness.
The HPOs offer these services free of charge for the adult population of their micro-regions. The most popular – and therefore the most frequently attended – lifestyle programmes are physical activity programs (for example: Nordic walking, guided dance programmes, swimming, physiotherapy) and programs promoting healthy eating (e.g. cooking club, energy balance club).
In 2013 and 2014, 61 HPOs started their work throughout the country from the European Social Fund. The operation of the existing offices is financed from the state budget. (2,1 million HUF on a monthly basis; ~6750 EUR)
Developing new offices planned to be financed from Operational Programmes.
Evidence of success
Considering the data collections the HPOs have made contacts with altogether 1151 partner institutes. The aims of these collaborations are mainly connected to concrete activities, like implementation of exercises.
During the project implementation the HPOs executed 2404 health promotion programs, where 158’328 individuals participated.
Health status surveys were also organised by the HPOs; during the project cycle 170’927 individuals took part on them.
The financing mechanism of the sustainable operation of the HPOs is a crucial element which should be solved immidiately by the state.
Potential for learning or transfer
HPOs are innovative organisational entities, and might serve as good examples to build sustainable health promotion and disease prevention capacities at micro-regional levels by utilising the European Social Fund to improve public health indicators, decrease health inequalities and create sustainable health development structures.