The Healthy Borough Programme finished at the end of last year. Initially, the programme was started to create new wellbeing services, and to take them to places where people are. New tools were also created to support the citizens’ proactive and preventive health care.

The aim for the Healthy Borough Programme was to develop new services that promote the wellbeing of Helsinki residents. The programme started in 2008 and was carried out until the end of 2011. The programme was executed by the City of Helsinki Health Care, but a large number of other public and private sector operators also participated in it. The testing of services was mainly organized in the Herttoniemi boroughs of West Herttoniemi, Herttoniemenranta, Roihuvuori and Tammisalo. The programme consisted of twelve separate projects altogether.
 
Health Card receives an Innovation Award
 
The electronic Health Card is a good example of a successful service pilot. It was rewarded by Excellence Finland as the winner of Innovation of the year Award in the public sector category.
 
The Health Card offered people electronic health inspection, lab tests and health coaching – all in one place. Thanks to the service, a number of people with diabetic and cardiovascular problems were identified. Of all participants who had the electronic health check, 41% were showing a pronounced risk of diabetes, and 39% showed an above average risk of a stroke. 13% had significantly raised blood sugar or blood lipid levels. 50% of the group had mildly abnormal levels of one of the above. 
 
Five thousand East Helsinki residents aged 45 to 49 were randomly selected and invited to participate in the pilot. From those invited, 800 started using the health card, and approximately 500 people had their lab tests done. 
 
Stop at the HealthStand while shopping
 
The HealthStand at Itäkeskus shopping mall is a prime example of a service taken to where people gather, and it can be easily used when visiting the mall”, describes Jouko Ranta, City of Helsinki Health Care Project Manager for the Healthy Borough Programme. “The HealthStand offers preventive healthcare services, while the health centers are still in charge of the actual medical treatments.” 
 
Three public health nurses work at the HealthStand. Other experts, such as nutritionists and physiotherapists, visit occasionally, as different theme weeks and events take place. 99% of the HealthStand customers estimated their visit either significantly or slightly beneficial, according to a visitor survey taken in November 2011. The HealthStand continues its operations also in 2012. 
 
Health services in bars
 
The Healthy Borough Programme also tested health services in two local bars in the Herttoniemi area. Customers had an opportunity to measure their blood pressure and blood sugar levels. During October-November 2011, health care students were on call during pre-arranged daytime hours.
 
“We didn’t go into the bars to lecture on the dangers of drinking,” Ranta specifies. “We wanted to bring health services to people’s disposal in an easy manner. Our aim was to identify problems at their early stage – such as a heightened risk of Type II Diabetes or hypertension.” The experiment went smoothly and the customers, the restaurateurs and the health care students all felt that it was a success. 
 
Exercise equipment at libraries a big hit
 
This spring (2012), the Helsinki City Dental Care Services will hit the road as the Mobile oral health care unit Liisu gets going. First, Liisu will be seen on schoolyards, offering students dental checks and treatment. The project aims to address especially the dental caries problem among the schoolchildren.  
 
The Healthy Borough Programme also initiated bringing exercise equipment in the city libraries’ selection of loan items. The service was first tried out at the libraries of Herttoniemi and Roihuvuori, and after a promising start, expanded to the Jakomäki and Pihlajamäki libraries.
 
Vauhtia Varhaiskasvatukseen (Energetic Early Education) was a pilot co-executed with Young Finland Association. The pilot generated a model of action which is currently being expanded to reach more boroughs. The model helps daycare personnel in planning how to provide the children with at least two hours of exercise during the daycare hours.  
 
The Healthy Borough Programme activated citizens to take part in the development of wellbeing services in their own neighborhood. The Idealinko service was used to collect ideas from the Herttoniemi area residents. As a result, two ideas emerged the best: the City of Helsinki decided to support Roihuvuori village center initiative and organized an info TV for the Herttoniemi health center. 
 
Text: Maija Jokiniemi
 
The Healthy Borough Programme was created to develop new services to support the wellbeing of the citizens. Another goal was to provide the Herttoniemi area residents with new tools to look after their own health. The extensive project ran through 2008 to 2011 in cooperation with the City of Helsinki Health Care. Other operators in the project were Forum Virium Helsinki, Finnish Center for Health Promotion, The Regional Organisation of Enterprises in Helsinki, Elisa, Logica, Palmia, Tieto and VTT.