Meetings with high-level Finnish delegation focus on emergencies, communicable and noncommunicable diseases


On 6 March 2018, a high-level delegation from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland visited WHO/Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark. The meetings that took place provided an opportunity for the Finnish delegation and members of the WHO/Europe leadership team to explore common public health interests, and to discuss ways in which WHO/Europe can strengthen its collaboration with Finland at national and regional levels.

Dr Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, led the Finnish delegation. She and her colleagues met with Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, and received a briefing from members of the leadership team. The briefing focused on emergencies – with an emphasis on the global WHO Health Emergencies Programme – as well as communicable diseases and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Discussions also covered WHO governing bodies.

The Standing Committee of the Regional Committee for Europe recently nominated a Finnish Executive Board member, who is expected to be endorsed as a new European Executive Board member at the upcoming World Health Assembly in May 2018. During its Executive Board membership, Finland will also hold the Presidency of the European Union (July–December 2019). As an Executive Board member, Finland will focus on mechanisms for good governance, efficiency, accountability, transparency, budgetary discipline and sustainable financing.

Dr Jakab thanked Dr Sillanaukee for Finland’s consistently strong support for WHO, and for its close collaboration on a range of issues, including the Joint External Evaluation process and the fight against NCDs. President Sauli Niinistö of Finland was recently appointed Co-Chair of the WHO Independent Global High-level Commission on NCDs.

Dr Sillanaukee emphasized that teamwork will be essential to meeting the health challenges facing the Region. She underscored the importance of ongoing discussions between WHO/Europe and European countries to chart the way forward and share best practices.