About NSTs cooperation with Arkhangelsk County
Initial discussions about telemedicine collaboration between Norway and Arkhangelsk began as far back as 1992-93. The Barents Region encouraged collaboration in many fields, and health was one of the most important areas. In the course of several friendship and “getting-to-know-you” visits to Russia, health care workers agreed that telemedicine was an area in which they wished to collaborate. Many joint projects were started between the University Hospital of North Norway and health institutions in Arkhangelsk.
In 1997, the National Centre of Telemedicine (NST) received its first funding for the project “Telemedicine in North-West Russia”. The overall aim of the project was to develop and strengthen telemedicine collaboration between Arkhangelsk Oblast and Northern Norway. The main objective of the project was to examine and improve communication and the mutual exchange of information between health care personnel in Norway and Russia, and within Arkhangelsk Oblast, in order to improve access to health care for the population of outlying districts; to contribute to improving the skills and effectiveness of health care workers in Arkhangelsk Oblast by means of improved communication between health care institutions within the region; and to facilitate the sharing of competence and knowledge between health workers in Arkhangelsk Oblast and Northern Norway.
The project was organized according to the matrix principle: people employed in other fields at NST have been involved in the project as experts and advisors in their particular specialties. A wide range of health personnel at the University Hospital of North Norway (UNN) – nurses, bioengineers, occupational therapists, doctors, and pharmacists – have taken an active role in the project, mainly in relation to the distance learning programme. Lecturers at the University of Tromsø and Tromsø University College have also contributed to the distance learning programme, as have health personnel from Tromsø Municipality.
The project was organized as a joint venture between the two countries, and responsibilities and authority were divided along clear lines of accountability. Detailed agreements were drawn up for certain key aspects of the project, such as the placement of equipment and agreement on the procedures for evaluation. Otherwise, the division of responsibilities and authority have been established during working meetings between the parties.
A timescale was created for the implementation of the project. Detailed schedules are described in the individual applications. During the course of the project, the schedule was continually revised in response to the situation in Russia and other external factors. Changes in the project timetable have been reported to the funding authorities on a regular basis.
Arkhangelsk Oblast is one of 11 northwest Russian federal districts. It is located along the White Sea and borders the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and the Komi Republic in the east, Vologda Oblast in the south and the Republic of Karelia in the west.
Arkhangelsk Oblast includes Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya. Also Nenets Autonomous Okrug is formally a part of Arkhangelsk, although it at the same time has status as federal subject.
The region covers a territory of more than 589,000 square kilometers, which makes up 35 percent of Northwest Russia and 3,5 percent of all of the Russian Federation.
Population in the region is 1,27 million (2007). About 94 percent of the population is ethnically Russian.
The administrative centre of Arkhangelsk has a population of 348,000 (2007), is the administrative center of the oblast. The second-biggest city, Severodvinsk, has a population of about 200,000.
Arkhangelsk Oblast has a powerful timber and forestry processing industry. It also has several major shipyards, first of all the Sevmash and Zvezdochka yards in Severodvinsk. The food processing industry also plays a key role for the regional economy.