The MSAH has a general responsibility for guiding and overseeing health promotion in Finland. Health promotion is based on the Health Care Act and is part of public health activity. Health promotion is also regulated by legislation concerning infectious diseases, tobacco control and alcohol.
Lifestyles and the living environment have an impact on welfare. The activities of the MSAH further health promoting lifestyles and clean, safe and accessible living environments. Accident injury prevention is a central concern of public health work.
Finland has achieved good results in tackling infectious diseases. The national vaccination programme and high standards of hygiene have succeeded in averting many infectious diseases and epidemics, particularly among children.
Reducing health inequalities is a prime objective of the MSAH, which aims to make good health undifferentiated among different sections of the population in different parts of the country. By promoting changes in lifestyle it has been possible, for example, to reduce cardiovascular diseases, though inequalities in health and mortality remain substantial.
The government supports health promotion by budgetary allocations, the use of which is determined by the MSAH.
Benefits of promoting health and welfare
Measures to promote health and welfare impact directly on the main causes of disease and so reduce costs that emanate from health services, sick leave and early retirement. The efficacy and cost effectiveness of health promotion is supported by research.
Programme for health promotion
Health is not furthered by means of health care alone. It requires the involvement of all sectors of society. Health must be taken into account in all areas of decision making and policy.
The Health 2015 National Health Programme is a long-term health policy programme, the background of which is the Health for All programme of the World Health Organisation.
Health promotion at municipal level
Municipalities are responsible for taking health into account in all their activities and decision-making. The National Development Programme for Social Welfare and Health Care strengthens the possibilities for municipalities to affect hazardous risk factors, promote the health of the population and reduce health inequalities.
The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities has published a guide in well-being through nutrition for municipal decision-makers, together with the National Nutrition Council.