Health and Social Issues

Please note: you are now visiting a website which will be closed during 2022. For updated information about the Working Group on Health and Social Issues, please visit our new website!  

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


For an updated contact list, please visit our new web page: 

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