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. 

Sweden holds the chairmanship of the JWGHS together with the Republic of Karelia for the period 2020-2021. 

The first Barents Health Ministers' Meeting took place in Oslo 12 November 2019. Please follow this link for Joint Statement, presentations and information material related to the meeting. 

Joint Working Group on Health and related Social issues, November 2018
JWGHS in Syktyvkar, November 2018

Barents Framework Collaboration Programme on Health and Related Social issues 2020-2023 

The JWGHS prepares its own health and social programme for four years at a time.The current programme covers the period 2020-2023. The programme can be downloaded from this link

The main priority areas of the programme are:

  • Prevention and control of communicable diseases
  • Improved health and increased access to health care in sparsely populated areas 
  • Improved environment for growth and development of children and youth 
  • Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases 

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

The Barents HIV/TB Programme 

The Barents Programme on New Technology and Methods in Health Care in Sparsely Populated Areas 


Information pages for Children and Youth at Risk in the Barents Region - CYAR (active until 2019) 

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



Mr. Jörgen Gyllenblad (Chair)
Deputy Director
Division for EU and International Affairs
Ministry of Health and Social Affairs
Tel: +46 70 316 2842
E-mail: jorgen.gyllenblad(at)

Ms. Annika Nordström
Head of R&D in Social welfare   
Regional Council of Västerbotten
Tel: +46 72 526 5732  
E-mail: annika.nordstrom(at)

Ms. Anita Helgesson
Strategic Manager 
Regional Council of Västerbotten 
Tel: +46 70 577 5718  
E-mail: anita helgesson(at)

Ms. Ulla Isaksson
Development strategist
Regional Council of Norrbotten
Tel: +46 70 298 4328
E-mail: ulla.m.isaksson(at)

Ms. Vibeke R. Gundersen
Senior Adviser
Ministry of Health and Care Services
Tel: +47 48 26 27 16 
E-mail: vrg(at)

Mr. Oddvar Larsen
Head of Cooperation and Preparedness 
Northern Norway Regional Health Authority 
Tel: +47 75 51 29 31, +47 99 22 58 55 
E-mail: oddvar.larsen(at)

Ms. Eli Ferrari de Carli
Senior Adviser
Ministry of Children and Equality
Tel: +47 22 24 25 04
E-mail: efc(at)

Ms. Outi Kuivasniemi 
Director of International affairs 
Ministrty for Social Affairs and Health 
Tel: +358 295 516 3117  
E-mail: outi.kuivasniemi(at)

Mr. Olli Kuukasjärvi
Ministerial Adviser
Ministry for Social Affairs and Health 
Tel: +358 295 516 3210 
E-mail: olli.kuukasjarvi(at)

Ms. Sirje Vaittinen (technical assistant)
Project Coordinator
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) 
Tel. +358 29 524 7033 
E-mail: sirje.vaittinen(at) 

Ms. Sari Kemppainen 
Senior Medical Officer of Regional Administration 
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Lapland 
Tel: +358 29 501 7350 
E-mail: sari.kemppainen(at) 

Ms. Leena Räsänen 
Director, Division of Basic Public Services, Legal Rights and Permits 
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Lapland 
E-mail: leena.rasanen(at)

Ms. Maria Siurua 
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Northern Finland
Tel: +358 40 506 8146 
E-mail: maria.siurua(at) 

Ms. Maire Ahopelto 
Kainuu Social and Health Care Joint Authority 
Tel: +358 44 777 3033
E-mail: maire.ahopelto(at) 

Ms. Mari Nupponen 
Welfare and Education Specialist
Regional Council of North Karelia 
Tel: +358 50 512 3432
E-mail: mari.nupponen(at)

Mr. Mikhail Ohlopkov (Co-Chair)
Minister of Health of the Republic of Karelia
Tel: +7 8142 445 220 (add. 106)
E-mail: mz(at)

Ms. Anna Feoktistova (coordinator)
Ministry of Health of the Republic of Karelia
Tel: +7 8142 445 220 (add. 161)
E-mail: feoktistova(at)

Mr. Dmitry Berezin 
Minister of Health of the Republic of Komi
Tel: +7 8212 284 000 
E-mail: mz(at)

Mr. Alexander Gershtansky
Minister of Healthcare of the Arkhangelsk Region
Tel: +7 8182 454 500 
E-mail: zdrav(at)

Ms. Marina Zhestovskikh (technical assistant for contacts)
Unit for International Cooperation in the Arkhangelsk
Region Information-Analitycal Center
Tel: +7 8182 276 218 
E-mail: u4ic(at)

Mr. Dmitry Panychev 
Minister of Health of the Murmansk Region
Tel: +7 8152 486 096
E-mail: minzdrav(at) 

Elena Levina
Head of Department of Health, Labor and Social Issues of Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Tel: +7 818 2 13 68
E-mail: elevina(at) 

Ms. Marina Savina 
Ministry of Health of Russian Federation 
E-mail: DavtyanMK(at) 

Other representatives 

Ms. Hanna Sofie Utsi
Working Group on Indigenous Peoples
E-mail: hanna.sofie(at)


Project funding in Barents

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