Infectious disease control in the Barents and Baltic sea regions

  Published: 02.05.05 Updated: 02.05.2005 13:54:24

Stein Andresen, Project manager

The project is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) and the Nordic Public Health Institutes.

Background and aim of the project

The Nordic countries have a long-standing tradition of collaboration in the fields of infectious disease prevention and control, including vaccination programmes. The state epidemiologists meet regularly to discuss common experiences and challenges. In 1997 they proposed a project for strengthening infectious disease control in the areas adjacent to the Nordic countries through transfer of knowledge and expertise in modern infectious disease epidemiology and control, and the development of an action plan for improvement and modernisation of existing infectious disease control systems. The long-term goal is to bring infectious diseases under control in these parts of the Barents and Baltic Sea regions (Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, St. Petersburg, Leningrad and partly Kaliningrad regions, Nenets autonomous okrug, the Karelian republic, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).

NCM approved an application for the project, and granted 2.65 mill DKK for the year 1998, 1.8 mill in 1999 and 2.0 mill for 2000.

The aim of the project, as previously mentioned, is to strengthen the infectious disease control in the areas adjacent to the Nordic countries and thereby, in the long perspective, to bring infectious diseases under control in the named region. This will be achieved through the following:

    * Transfer of knowledge and expertise in modern epidemiology and control of infectious diseases
    * Development of an action plan for the improvement and modernisation of existing systems of infectious disease control
    * Building a network between institutes and professionals in the region.

Project organisation

Epidemiologists of the five Nordic countries constitute the Steering Committee. The National Institute of Public Health in Norway (Folkehelsa) is responsible for carrying out the project. The Project group consists of a Project manager and an Executive officer in Oslo, and Co-ordinators in ½ positions in Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm.

Partner institutions

The five collaborating Nordic institutes are:

    * Statens Serum Institut (SSI), Denmark
    * National Public Health Institute (KTL), Finland
    * Director General of Health, Iceland
    * National Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Norway
    * Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI), Sweden.

One of the aims of the project is to establish close contact between the Nordic institutes and their colleagues in neighbouring countries. During 1998 and 1999 such contacts are established with:

    * Health Protection Inspectorate, Estonia
    * National Environmental Health Centre, Latvia
    * Centre for Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control, Lithuania
    * Regional State Epidemiology and Sanitary Centre, Arkhangelsk
    * Regional State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance Centre, Murmansk
    * Municipal State Epidemiologic and Sanitary Control Centre, St. Petersburg
    * Pasteur Institute, St. Petersburg
    * Regional State Epidemiological and Surveillance Centre, Leningrad
    * Regional State Epidemiological and Surveillance Centre, Karelia.

The project keeps contact with other actors in the field of epidemiology of infectious diseases as

    * Governments of the Nordic countries
    * The Barents Health Programme
    * WHO Europe
    * The Nordic School of Public Health
    * University and University Hospital of Tromsø
    * and others.

Activities 1999

The main activity was three-day courses in Riga, Vilnius, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, St. Petersburg and Tallinn. These courses consisted of a surveillance-day, an outbreak-day and a laboratory-day (not in Tallinn). In total did 221 persons take part in the courses.

In the two-week course in Epidemiology of infectious diseases in Kongsvinger did 30 persons take part, ten each from the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and NW-Russia.

The participant passed an examination, and received a certificate giving 2,5 credit-points in the Public Health education system.

A two-day course in vaccinology was given in Vilnius with 40 participants, and an expert meeting on immunisation was held in Arkhangelsk. Five persons were given fellowships. The State epidemiologists from the whole project area, 12 countries/regions, had their first meeting in Oslo.

Plans for 2000

The activities will continue in 2000 in nearly the same way as in 1999. Fellowships, the two-week course, EpiNorth and the meeting of the State epidemiologists will be given priority. Two- and three-day courses, tailored to local wishes and available human resources, will be given in a slightly reduced number.

Home page

For the latest on activities, announcements of fellowships and courses, annual reports and other information, visit the project's home page: