Health and Social Issues

The Joint Working Group on Health and Related Social Issues (JWGHS) brings together governments, regions, organizations and experts in health and related social issues with the aim to improve public health and social well-being of the people in the Barents Region. The JWGHS works closely with organizations such as the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Members of the JWGHS are Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Both the central government level and the Barents regions in all four countries are represented. The Indigenous People’s Working Group is represented by a member. The EU Commission, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being take part in the work as needed.

The Working Group for Health and Related Social Issues provides a political structure for health and social cooperation, in which representatives of the national and regional health authorities of the Barents countries meet twice a year to discuss relevant issues. 

Finland holds the chairmanship of the JWGHS together with Arkhangelsk for the period 2016-2017. 


Barents Framework Collaboration Programme on Health and Related Social issues 2016-2019 

The JWGHS prepares its own health and social programme for four years at a time.The current programme covers the period 2016-2019. The programme can be downloaded in English and in Russian

The scope and priorities of the programme are:

  • Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, including reduction of lifestyle-related risk factors, environmental factors and new emerging risks 
  • Prevention and control of communicable diseases 
  • Strengthening of health systems and social services with relevance for health 

Three specialized programmes have been worked out by specialists on the request of the JWGHS. The three programmes can be seen as sub-programmes under the Barents Health Programme. These are:

1) The Barents TB Programme

2) The Barents CYAR Programme

3) The Barents HIV/AIDS Programme

More information about the The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being


Pasi Korhonen (co-chair)
Director of International Affairs
Ministry for Social Affairs and Health
Tel: +358 295163649

Sirje Vaittinen (technical assistant)
Project Coordinator, National Institute
for Health and Welfare (THL) 
Tel. +358 2952 47033 

Kristiina Poikajärvi
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Lapland
Tel: +358 295017375

Margit Päätalo
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Northern Finland
Tel: +358 503509660

Maire Ahopelto 
Kainuu Social and Health Care Joint Authority 
Tel: +358 447773033

Anton Karpunov (co-chair)
Minister of Health of the Arkhangelsk Region
Tel: +7 8182454500, +7 9115629741

Marina Zhestovskikh (technical assistant)
Manager of the Unit for International Cooperation
Arkhangelsk Regional Administration
Tel: +7 8182276218

Valerij Peretruchin 
Minister of Health 
Murmansk Regional Administration
Tel: +7 8152486096

Valentina Vasilyevna Ulich
Ministerial Administration of the Governor of the Republic of Karelia
Tel: +7 8142792900

Yaroslav Bordyug 
Minister of Public Health 
Administration of the Republic of Komi
Tel: +7 8212284000

Göran Carlsson
Senior advisor
Division for EU and International Affairs
Ministry of Health and Social Affairs
Tel: +46730295519

Anita Helgesson
Strategic Manager 
Regional Council of Västerbotten 
Tel: +46 90165715, +46 705775718  
E-mail: anita

Vibeke R. Gundersen
Senior Adviser
Ministry of Health and Care Services
Tel: +47 48262716

Kjersti Morvik 
Senior Adviser
Ministry of Children and Equality
Tel: +47 22242203, +47 90517067

Oddvar Larsen 
Head of Cooperation and Preparedness 
Northern Norway Regional Health Authority 
Tel: +47 75512931, +47 99225855 

Pål Christian Bergstrøm 
Director General
Bufetat Region Nord
Tel: +47 46615502

Other representatives 

Hanna Sofie Utsi
Working Group on Indigenous Peoples


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