Editorial. The EpiNorth Project Beyond 2012

  Published: 06.12.12 Updated: 06.12.2012 13:57:56

H. Blystad, associated editor

Citation: Blystad H. The EpiNorth Project beyond 2012. EpiNorth 2012;13:31-2.

On 30th November 2012, the current EpiNorth project period comes to an end. Since 2007, the project has been financed by grants from the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services channeled through the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. If one includes the forerunner of the current EpiNorth project, the infectious disease cooperation between the Nordic- and Baltic countries and North-West Russia is now in its 14th year. Belarus, Ukraine and Poland joined the network in 2008.

At the joint annual EpiNorth meeting and regional epidemiologist meeting in Helsinki in May 2012 representatives of participating regions and countries discussed future cooperation. Abstractsfrom presentations given at this meeting are published in this issue of EpiNorth Journal. Prior to the meeting, a short questionnaire was sent to participants. The aim of this informal study was to get a rough indication of which of the EpiNorth elements the respondents think most useful and what elements should be continued in a possible reorganization of the EpiNorth project. The result of this small survey should be interpreted with caution, but gives clear indications that EpiNorth Journal, EpiNorth Data and EpiWatch are regarded the most wanted elements to be continued in a reorganization of the EpiNorth project. All the respondents answered that it was important to maintain the network developed through the EpiNorth project, while 95% answered that it is important to have an annual meeting within the network. Likewise, an analysis of webpage visits showed that EpiNorth Journal, EpiWatch and EpiNorthData are the most visited webpages on the EpiNorth web site.

The EpiNorth management and secretariat is now discussing the future of the cooperation beyond 2012. Due to financial reasons as well as reorganization at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health there will probably be reduced activity within the cooperation network from 2013. Whatever elements of the EpiNorth project that will be continued beyond 2012, it is important to continue the close cooperation with ECDC and the Eurosurveillance journal.

In this issue, an obituary is published for Stein Andresen who died this summer. Stein was for ten years until he retired in 2007 the driving force behind the EpiNorth project and other cooperation projects in North-West Russia. His sudden death reminds us of the gratitude we owe to all individuals who have for so many years contributed in developing and maintaining the EpiNorth network. It would be in Stein`s spirit to renew and develop this cooperation in controlling communicable diseases for the best of the inhabitants of Northern and Eastern Europe.