Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS)

Health partnership in the Baltic Sea Region

The Northern Dimension (ND) Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) was established in 2003 by what is known as the Oslo Declaration, with the aim of addressing, within the framework of the Northern Dimension, the health challenges facing the Baltic Sea Region.

The aim of the Partnership is to help minimise the regional differences obtaining in the access to medical benefits and services and health care, as well as achieving a general improvement in peoples' quality of life and the overall demographic situation. The Partnership aims to achieve this by intensifying co-operation among the States bordering the Baltic Sea, by assisting the partners and participants in capacity-building, and by enhancing co-ordination among international activities in the region.

The main objectives of the Health Partnership are:

  • reducing the spread of major communicable diseases (for example, HIV/AIDS, TB) and prevent life-style related non-communicable diseases ( e.g.cardiovascular diseases) and
  • enhancing peoples’ levels of social well-being and to promote socially rewarding lifestyles.

The Health Partnership works closely together with other actors in the health care systems of the region, such as the EU and the WHO EURO, so as to avoid duplication of efforts and subjects and to make use of synergies. In so doing, it builds on and supports existing national and international activities within its area of focus.

At present, ten governments (Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, the Russian Federation and Sweden), the European Commission and eight international organi-sations collaborate within the NDPHS.

The topic of 'health' is also one of the priorities of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The co-ordinator in this context is the NDPHS which consequently has the possibility of drawing attention to specific aspects within European health policy.

More effectiveness and attractiveness

Based on a sustainable analysis of the comparative advantages offered by the NDPHS, compared with other health policy actors in the region, the Partnership will focus on those areas in which it is able to offer added value.

Overall, the intention is to make it possible for the Partnership to be used more effectively and thereby become more attractive. This is to be achieved, among other things, by making more intensive use of the regional and bilateral co-operation schemes that already exist among organisations, institutions and the Member States.

The new NDPHS Strategy 2020 and its Action Plan were adopted by the NDPHS Committee of Senior Representatives (CSR) under the German Chairmanship in 2015.
The Strategy and the Action Plan are milestones for the NDPHS and will guide the Partner Countries and Organisations in their joint efforts to achieve improvements in the priority areas agreed upon during the latest ministerial-level PAC, i.e.:

  • Antimicrobial resistance;
  • HIV/AIDS and associated infections;
  • Non-communicable diseases;
  • Alcohol and substance abuse;
  • Occupational safety and health and well-being at work;
  • Primary health care.

The recently reformed expert-level structures of the Partnership will help to ensure successful implementation of the planned activities. Therefore the following new Expert Groups have been established:

  • Expert Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (led by Sweden);
  • Expert Group on Alcohol and Substance Abuse (led by Norway);
  • Expert Group on HIV, TB and Associated Infections (led by Finland);
  • Expert Group on Non-communicable Diseases (led by Russia);
  • Expert Group on Occupational Safety and Health (led by Finland);
  • Expert Group on Prison Health (led by Germany);
  • Expert Group on Primary Health Care (led by Russia)