Estonia's social affairs minister discusses cooperation in combating COVID-19 in Helsinki

  • 2020-08-23
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonia's Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik visited the University of Helsinki Hospital and met with Finland's Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru during a working visit to Helsinki on Friday.

During their meeting, the two ministers spoke about cooperation in combating the coronavirus and in the innovation of e-services.

In addition, a cooperation memorandum between Finland and Estonia on the promotion of the innovation of e-services in both countries and between the countries was signed, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs said.

According to Kiik, the coronavirus crisis showed how important is secure cross-border availability of health information and social welfare information. 

"Estonia and Finland were the first two countries in Europe to implement cross-border exchanges of medical prescriptions in both directions. We definitely must move forward also with other developments which enable health information to accompany the individual in the future, enabling to provide higher quality medical services both at home and outside of one's home country," the Estonian minister said.

"With the cooperation memorandum we will further deepen cooperation between the two countries in developing e-services in healthcare and in the field of social services and can take the next steps together for the protection of people's health," he said.

Both ministers described better use of data in research, prevention and developing of the healthcare system as an important place of cooperation. They also talked about cooperation in containing the coronavirus.

"Infection with the coronavirus is on an upward trend in Europe. Communicable diseases know no national borders, therefore it is important to act together. Effective cooperation between neighboring countries and countries of the same region is especially important during a crisis, when one has to rapidly adapt to a changing situation," Kiik said.

"Estonia and Finland stand face to face with similar challenges in containing the coronavirus, starting with self-isolation requirements and crossing of the border, and ending with the acquisition and delivery of vaccines," the minister added.