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Finland is well prepared for large scale health threats

Government Communications Department
31.3.2017 12.16 | Published in English on 31.3.2017 at 13.19
Press release 143/2017

Finland has a high level of preparedness for large-scale health threats, such as influenza pandemic and antimicrobial resistance. However, there is also room for improvement. An international group of experts submitted their development proposals to Minister of Social Affairs and Health Pirkko Mattila in Helsinki on Friday, 31 March.

The evaluation group commended Finland’s horizontal, broad-based collaboration between authorities. Finland also has well-functioning legislation and practices. For example, the requirements under the International Health Regulations (IHR) have been fully integrated into the national regulations in all key sectors. Comprehensive security in Finland is at a high level.

In their evaluation, the external experts draw attention to the challenges created by the forthcoming health, social services and regional government reform as well as to the problem of how to get more done with limited human resources: getting operators outside the central government, such as the scientific community, involved in health security efforts.

In April the evaluation group will be submitting a comprehensive report with concrete recommendations for measures to develop health security in Finland. The Finnish authorities will then use these recommendations to review together the existing plans and revise them to better safeguard health for humans, animals and the environment.

Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organisations were commissioned by the Finnish Security Committee to conduct an exceptionally extensive evaluation of Finland’s abilities to respond to different kinds of cross-border threats to health of humans, animals and the environment. The work was carried out in late March.

Inquiries: Anni Virolainen-Julkunen, Ministerial Counsellor for Health/Medical Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 324, Sebastian Hielm, Director of Food Safety, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 295 162 305, Jouni Pousi, Senior Specialist, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 295 488 453, Simo Nikkari, Professor, Centre for Military Medicine, tel. +358 299 575 340, Jukka Lähesmaa, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 139, Anne-Sofie Pesola, Information Officer, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 625 (media contacts).