The Nordic countries want to restrict excess use of antibiotics

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 9.9.2015 10.52
News item 44/2015

The Nordic ministers of social affairs and health will meet in Copenhagen on 9 September. The meeting of the Nordic Council of Ministers will issue a Nordic declaration on antibiotic resistance.

The excess use of antibiotics is a growing problem posing a threat to the wellbeing of both humans and animals. This problem should be actively combated so that the effects of antibiotics will not be lost.

The excess use of antibiotics weakens the protection they give, prolongs illnesses and increases mortality. Cross-sectoral cooperation is vital for prevention measures, with regard to human and animal health as well as the sectors of agriculture and the environment.

The declaration proposes that a cross-sectoral One Health Strategy Group should be established to disseminate information and best practices. In Finland, the One Health approach already affects, among other things, the work of a multi-sectoral group dealing with antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The group is responsible for drawing up a national strategy for the prevention of resistance to antimicrobial medicines. The strategy will be drawn up during the coming winter.

The declaration of the Nordic Council of Ministers is based on Rapporteur Bo Könberg's report last year where he emphasises the need for better, permanent structures and broad-based cross-sectoral cooperation forums on international level. Relating to this, Finland wants to develop the operation of the Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social issues (NVC) in Helsinki, in order to better support public health and promote cooperation on social and health policies.

At present, the NVC Helsinki office deals with issues regarding alcohol and drug policies. However, expanding the profile of the office towards wider issues of lifestyles and public health could create Nordic added value.

Strengthening public health is a central topic also during the Finnish Presidency in 2016. Finland has started a three-year Presidency project called ”Open and Innovative Nordic Countries with Well-being People in 2020 -  Equal Opportunities to Welfare, Education, Culture and Work “. The many activities within the project will be closely linked to the recommendations of Könberg's report and to improving public health.

Inquiries:

Maria Waltari, Senior Officer, tel. tel. +358 (0)2951 63337
Anni Julkunen-Virolainen, Senior Medical Officer, tel. tel. +358 (0)2951 63324