About the HLS19

HLS19 Logo

The Health Literacy Survey 2019-2021 (HLS19) was M-POHL’s first project. Its aim was to measure population health literacy in as many member countries of the WHO European Region as possible. To plan and carry out this project, a consortium of participating countries was set up to make decisions, and working groups were formed to develop the study design as well as new survey instruments to measure navigational health literacy, communicative health literacy, digital health literacy, vaccination health literacy and the costs and economics of health literacy in addition to general health literacy.


Partners from M-POHL member countries were eligible to participate in HLS19. They had to participate with a policy and a research representative so that both perspectives could work together in preparing and implementing the survey and using the results to improve population health literacy. To fulfill the research role, a National Study Center (NSC) was contracted to conduct the HLS19 nationally, provide a national report the results, and represent the HLS19 member country at the HLS19 Research Assembly. For the policy role in the HLS19, the national Ministry of Health usually sent a member of its own staff or nominated a representative from another suitable institution to the HLS19 Policy Assembly. 

17 countries in the WHO European Region participated in the HLS19 in the period 2019-2021: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland


The HLS19 was coordinated by an International Coordination Centre (ICC) located at the Austrian National Public Health Institute (Gesundheit Österreich GmbH).

Core team of the International Coordination Centre (ICC) and their roles/responsibilities: 

  • Jürgen M. Pelikan – Scientific Coordinator
  • Christa Straßmayr - Project Coordination and Research
  • Robert Griebler – Research
  • Thomas Link – Statistics and Research
  • Dominika Mikšová - Statistics and Research
  • Peter Nowak – Finance and Contracting