The Prime Ministers of the Baltic Sea Region and the European Commission have now fully endorsed the recommendations from the Task Force on Communicable Disease Control. The Task Force has been given a renewed and extended mandate and the implementation has started.
No organisation for the implementation of proposals will be established. Instead, the Task Force will work through a multilateral framework for open consultation with benchmarking. For this purpose, a group of senior health officials, GSHO, has been constituted to co-ordinate the respective national inputs and activities. The chairperson is the head of the secretariat, Ambassador Harald Siem. The first meeting of the GSHO was held in Riga on the 14th of March 2001, and the first projects have been implemented.
The GSHO makes use of Programme Groups for multilaterally agreed modelling within each programme. Project Groups consisting of members representing the participating authorities and institutions will be responsible for the actual activities according to recommendations in the background document “Healthy Neighbours”. In the Project Groups, only a limited number of states will be involved at each location.
There are two important guidelines for the projects:
The activities must reflect the national policies of the host country
The country or oblast must take the initiative, define the locations and level of co-operation, and invite other states to collaborate
The organisation will not follow a traditional model. NGOs, institutions, or individuals will not apply for project support. There will be no capacity or competence to evaluate such applications. The Task Force will work through national authorities and will invite relevant experts, public institutions and NGOs to run projects following guidelines set by the Programme Groups. International participation will be in the form of expert advice and collaboration, providing international technical advisers and funds for travel and one-time investments. In the interest of sustainability there will be little financial support for salaries, expendables and building maintenance in the host countries. The financial participation is decided directly by the participating countries. Invitations for projects in host countries and requests for further information in general may be addressed to the national GSHO member.
The GSHO members are:
Nils Strandberg Pedersen (Denmark), Katrin Saluvere (Estonia), Maarit Kokki (Finland), Sonja Kießling (Germany), Haraldur Briem (Iceland), Viktors Jaksons (Latvia), Viktoras Meižis (Lithuania), Andreas Skulberg (Norway), Janusz Ślusarczyk (Poland), Johan Giesecke (Sweden) and Helmut Walerius (EU - Commission). The Russian member is to be appointed.
Members of Programme Group Surveillance:
Vytautas Bakasénas (Lithuania), Gudrun Sigmundsdottir (Iceland), Joanna Galimska (Poland), Preben Aavitsland (Norway), Kuulo Kutsar (Estonia), Markku Kuusi (Finland), Jurijs Perevoscikovs (Latvia), Vladimir Sergiev (Russia) and Anders Tegnell (Sweden).
Members of Programme Group Antibiotic resistance:
Niels Frimodt-Møller (Denmark), Piotr Heczko (Poland), Orina Ivanauskiene (Lithuania), Karl G. Kristinsson (Iceland), Matti Maimets (Estonia), Viktor Maleev (Russia), Martin Steinbakk (Norway), Peet Tüll (Sweden) and Aija Žilevica (Latvia).
Members of Programme Group HIV/AIDS/STI:
Saulius Chaplinskas (Lithuania), Andris Ferdats (Latvia), Svein Gunnar Gundersen (Norway), Ingegerd Kallings (Sweden), Pauli Leinikki (Finland), Anna Marzec-Boguslawska (Poland), Janis Polis (Latvia), Katrin Saluvere (Estonia), Irina Savtsjenko (Russia), Else Smith (Denmark) and Kai Zilmer (Estonia).
Members of Programme Group Tuberculosis:
Thorsteinn Blöndal (Iceland), Sergej Borisov (Russia), Edita Davidaviciene (Lithuania), Sven Hoffner (Sweden), Vaira Leimane (Latvia), Tone Ringdal (Norway), Kazimierz Roszkowski (Poland), Kai Vink (Estonia) and Kaj Viskum (Denmark).
Members of Programme Group Primary Health Care:
Ali Arsalo (Finland), Edita Gumbiniene (Lithuania), Jon Hilmar Iversen (Norway), Guntis Kilkuts (Latvia), Zbigniew Krol (Poland), Heidi-Ingrid Maaroos (Estonia), Pending (Sweden) and Aleksej Savinykh (Russia).
For more information, see the home page www.baltichealth.org.