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Finland’s health security evaluated in March, what does it mean?

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 27.2.2017 13.43
News item

External experts will be evaluating Finland’s health security capabilities on 27–31 March 2017. An independent external evaluation of health security and the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR) will give Finland an opportunity to get reliable information about the sufficiency and functioning of our health system and preparedness.

Dr Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, explains in a video the meaning of health security and an external evaluation.

Link to the video interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMnLDgILx2c

Text version of the interview

Finland’s health security evaluated in late March, what does it mean?

"Health security means the capacity to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases and bio-threats. It is not something the health sector can deal with alone, and in addition to human health it involves animal health, food safety, chemical safety, radiation and nuclear safety, security services as well as internal and foreign affairs. The important issue is how these different sectors work together.

The evaluation of health security will be conducted in accordance with the IHR Monitoring and Evaluation Framework of the World Health Organization (WHO). The evaluation will also examine how well the IHR has been implemented in Finland. A successful implementation means that prevention, detection and response work so well that no threats or large-scale epidemics occur.

The evaluation of health security includes a national self-assessment by a team of Finnish experts. It is followed by an external evaluation by a team of international experts. The evaluation follows the WHO Joint External Evaluation (JEE) process, and public reporting of its outcomes will indicate the areas of development in Finland."

Why is Finland’s health security being evaluated?

"Finland has had a central role in developing the process of external evaluations which have been carried out in more than 30 countries already. Now it is Finland’s turn.

Finland’s health security is being evaluated by our request for the purpose of getting independent information about areas where we have room for improvement. This information is important for the protection of people: bio-threats and infectious diseases know no borders."

What can we gain from the health security evaluation?

"The evaluation is a joint effort by various authorities. It will be followed by a joint plan on how to respond to public health threats. In this way the health authorities, vets, customs officers, transport professionals and security authorities can rapidly respond to public health threats and get them under control.

The evaluation will indicate the areas where we need to improve our capacity and capabilities. It will enable us to better allocate our financial and human resources to areas where there is most need for them."