7.6 Mechanisms of early detection and signposting of young people facing health risks
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Aim 11 of the Child and Youth Health Strategy (Kinder- und Jugendgesundheitsstrategie) emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis and specific support for children and adolescent. The early diagnosis of (health) problemsallows an early support by specific promotion and thus, shows better prevention success or success of treatment. There are different and only partly standardised programmes for different target groups in Austria. The main tool for early diagnosis of diseases of children in Austria is the 'mother-child passport' (Mutter-Kind-Pass). Its further development according to the present scientific evidence was one of the main focuses of the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection (Bundesministerium für Soziales, Gesundheit, Pflege und Konsumentenschutz) in the last years.
Examplary Measures of prevention and early diagnosis
- School doctors (Schulärzte): The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, as the school provider, employs 500 school physicians at the federal schools. At each school they are present once a week - at large ones even daily, which makes them the largest advisory system at federal schools. Their tasks include counselling (ranging from school hygiene matters to questions of health education and ergonomics of school furniture), regular examinations, and the participation in measures taken by the health authorities - such as the implementation of the recommended vaccinations within the framework of the Austrian vaccination concept. The school physicians work directly at the school site, which provides a low-threshold, and reach almost 100 percent of all children and adolescents with their work.
- The pilot programme 'health check junior' (Gesundheitscheck Junior) (since 2013 implemented in Vienna and Burgenland) has been extended to a nationwide programme. In order to identify health risks at an early stage and to increase health awareness, social insurences offer children and adolescents aged six to 18 a free Health Check. For ongoing health monitoring, the possibility is also offered for all adolescents between the ages of 15 and 18 (Jugendlichenuntersuchung).
- Further development of the Mother Child passport with the aim to provide recommendations based on screenings of possible of health risks (in process of development).
- Standardised examinations for early diagnosis of specific needs in Kindergarten (recommended in 2011, in process of implementation).
- Development of a draft for school health in cooperation with relevant profession groups (recommended).
- Adaption and expansion of nationwide new-born screenings (implemented).
- Free of charge orthodontic treatment for all under 18 years (implemented).
- The coordination centre on addiction and drugs of the City of Vienna (Sucht und Drogen Koordination Wien) supports family members and educators with prevention activities. Its comprehensive offer includes lecture series, information evenings, videos and information brochures. E-mental health tools create a higher reach and offer those affected support that is close to their lives.
- In cooperation with the City of Vienna, the Austrian health insurance (Gesundheitskasse) developed prevention workshops for pupils, educators and parents on the topics of addiction, intoxication, body image, and conscious use of smartphones and new media.
- In 2019, Austria for the second time participated in the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) of the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The height and weight of primary school children is measured at regular intervals in order to record and compare trends in overweight and obesity. moreover, variables influencing dietary and physical activity behaviour in the school and family environment are collected.
- The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study (HBSC) collects data on the health and health behaviour of schoolchildren aged 11, 13, 15 and 17 every four years. In addition to health status, trends in health behaviour and social influencing factors are described, e.g. stress, dietary behaviour or smoking behaviour.
The public prevention and early diagnosis measures aim to include young people and their parents, doctors and health professionals, health insurances, multipliers and educators.
Early diagnosis measures at school aim at the training of teachers and focus on anomalies in the area of dyslexia and dyscalculia. Another focal point in early diagnosis of addiction. These trainings are part of the draft for school health.
GIVE - Service Agency for Health Promotion in Austrian Schools (Servicestelle für Gesundheitsförderung an Österreichs Schulen) is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection and the Austrian Youth Red Cross. It offers free support to teachers and staff at educational and health institutionsin all questions of health promotion at school (e.g. assistance with literature searches, contacts to organisations, tips on how to implement health promotion activities in schools). The website provides information and advice on topics such as eating and drinking, more exercise, life skills, communication & conflict culture, and health promotion in schools. A brochure dealt with the subject ‘Staying Healthy! Prevention and care in schools’.
Teacher training and information on interacting with children with dyslexia is provided by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. School physicians are present in schools all over Austria. Further training for school physicians is provided by various public bodies. Furthermore, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research promotes the communication and co-operation in the area of psychosocial counselling.
For the field of extracurricular youth work (Gesundheitskompetenz in der außerschlischen Jugendarbeit), the Centre of Competence for Professional Open Children and Youth Work (Bundesweites Netzwerk Offene Jugendarbeit, BoJA) and the Federal Network of Austrian Youth Information Centres (Bundesnetzwerk Österreichische Jugendinfos, BÖJI) developed criteria for organisational health competence, including two guidelines on health competent open youth work and youth information. The two organisations also founded the Network Health Competent Youth Work, which regularly brings together partners, experts and interested parties from the field for expert inputs and good practice presentations.
Regional measures provide guidance and training for stakeholders. In Tyrol, special linguistic support training is offered for kindergarten teachers. Parent counselling is provided in most federal states.
Apart from young people with problematic consumption, no special target groups are identified/defined by the strategy. Many prevention and early diagnosis measures target all young people.
No description of the financial support for this specific aim is available.
80 million Euro each year are provided for the free of charge orthodontic treatment for all people under 18 years.