Learning from Nordic health systems

Ministers of health and social affairs from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden met in Aalborg, Denmark today to exchange experience and discuss how to cooperate more closely to tackle noncommunicable diseases and provide highly specialized health care.

Speaking at the meeting, Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, underlined the many challenges to health in Europe today, including the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases, social inequalities, environmental threats and the implications of ageing populations for health systems and social care services. Ms Jakab praised those attending for seeking new areas of cooperation between countries and taking a forward-looking approach to adapting health systems to the new demographic, environmental and health landscape.

“Nordic countries have some of the most successful health systems in Europe, not only clinically but also in pushing policy upstream, towards strategies for disease prevention and health promotion. We will be watching Nordic countries closely, to learn from them as they work with today’s issues,” said Ms Jakab.

Issues including mental health, coordination between health care and social services, and long-term care were also on the agenda.

The Nordic Council of Ministers brings together ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It meets regularly for consultation and agreement on areas of common interest. At present, Denmark holds the Presidency of the Council.