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 3162842

Ms. Annika Nordström
Head of R&D in Social welfare   
Regional Council of Västerbotten
Tel: +46 725 265732  

Ms. Anita Helgesson
Strategic Manager 
Regional Council of Västerbotten 
Tel: +46 70 5775718  
E-mail: anita

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

Ms. Vibeke R. Gundersen
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. Eli Ferrari de Carli
Senior Adviser
Ministry of Children and Equality
Tel: +47 22 24 25 04

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
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) 
Tel. +358 29 524 7033 

Ms. Sari Kemppainen 
Senior Medical Officer of Regional Administration 
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Lapland 
Tel: +358 295 017 350 

Ms. Maria Siurua 
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) for Northern Finland
Tel: +358 40 506 8146 

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

Ms. Mari Nupponen 
Welfare and Education Specialist
Regional Council of North Karelia 
Tel: +358 505123432

Mr. Dmitry Berezin 
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 for contacts)
Unit for International Cooperation in the Arkhangelsk
Region Information-Analitycal Center
Tel: +7 8182 276218 

Mr. Dmitry Panychev 
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

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!

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Internship at the IBS

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