Fighting infectious disease Käsien desinfiointi

The aim of fighting infectious diseases is their prevention and to stop them from spreading. Prevention is one of the responsibilities of the social and health care services.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for providing general planning, guidance and supervision regarding infectious diseases. Their prevention is laid down in the Communicable Diseases Act. 

Vaccinations and the promotion of sexual health are an important part of the fight against infectious diseases. 

Responsibilities of the authorities

The expert body responsible for fighting infectious disease is the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Advisory Board on Communicable Diseases, which monitors general developments in situations relating to infectious diseases and aids the fight against them.  

The expert institution in the fight against infectious disease is the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). It investigates infectious diseases and what causes them, monitors the occurrence of, and fight against, infectious disease, provides guidance for professionals, and studies epidemics in collaboration with hospital districts and local authorities.

Regionally, the Regional State Administrative Agencies are responsible for guiding and supervising the fight against infectious disease. Hospital districts are the experts in fighting infectious disease in their own regions. Advice on infectious diseases is available from local health centres.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health collaborates on infectious disease issues with other administrative branches, for example, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (zoonoses, food poisoning epidemics, antimicrobial resistance), the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Ministry of the Environment (international treaties) and the Ministry of the Interior (cross-border health threats and immigration). 

Information on zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance and food poisoning is available from the Zoonosis Centre, a body of cooperation between THL and the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira.

Preparation plans

Preparation for infectious diseases depends on comprehensive, cross-administrative cooperation. 

International regulation

Preventing the spread of infectious disease depends on seamless international cooperation.

The World Health Organization's International Health Regulations (IHR) were drawn up to ward off global health threats. Finland adopted the IHR in 2005.

The monitoring and prevention of infectious diseases in Europe are coordinated by WHO Europe 2014 and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)