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. 

Norway holds the chairmanship of the JWGHS together with the Republic of Komi for the period 2018-2019. 


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


Ms. Vibeke R. Gundersen (co-Chair)
Senior Adviser
Ministry of Health and Care Services
Tel: +47 48262716 

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

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

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

Mr. Veli-Mikko Niemi 
Director-General of International Affairs Unit 
Ministrty for Social Affairs and Health 
Tel: +358 295 163 465 

Ms. Maria Waltari 
Ministerial Adviser 
MInistry for Social Affairs and Health 
Tel: +358 295 163 337 

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

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

Ms. Hanna Toiviainen
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Northern Finland
Tel: +358 40 486 6061

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

Ms. Tuula Kääriäinen
Special Advisor
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Eastern Finland (North Karelia)
Tel: +358 295016849

Mr. Dmitry Berezin (co-Chair)
Minister of Public Health of the Republic of Komi
Tel: +7 8212 284000 

Mr. Anton Karpunov
Minister of Health of the Arkhangelsk Region
Tel: +7 8182 454500, +7 911 5629741

Ms. Marina Zhestovskikh (technical assistant)
Manager of the Unit for International Cooperation
Arkhangelsk Regional Administration
Tel: +7 8182 276218 

Mr. Valerij Peretruchin 
Minister of Health 
Murmansk Regional Administration
Tel: +7 8152 486096

Ms. Valentina Ulich
Ministerial Administration of the Governor of the Republic of Karelia
Tel: +7 8142 792900

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

Mr. Jörgen Gyllenblad
Head of Section
Division for EU and International Affairs
Ministry of Health and Social Affairs
Tel: +46 703162842

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

Ms. Ulla Isaksson
Development strategist
Regional Council of Norrbotten
Tel: +46 70 298 43 28

Other representatives 

Ms. Hanna Sofie Utsi
Working Group on Indigenous Peoples


Project funding in Barents

The IBS has gathered information for all Barents relevant funding sources - more information below!

Read more

Internship at the IBS

Internship at the International Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes - click below for more information!

Read more
Our website uses cookies, read more. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. [I Agree]